By Keith Idec
Former WBO junior welterweight champion Kendall Holt and top prospect Danny Garcia have both agreed to terms on contracts for an Oct. 15 fight on the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson undercard in Los Angeles.
The 30-year-old Holt (27-4, 15 KOs), of Paterson, N.J., represents a stiff test for Philadelphia’s Garcia, who’s 21-0, including 14 knockouts. Garcia, 23, soundly defeated former lightweight champ Nate Campbell (34-8-1, 25 KOs, 1 NC) in their 10-round fight April 9 in Las Vegas, but Campbell is 39.
“This is a great fight and an important and big step up for Danny Garcia,” said Richard Schaefer, chief executive officer for Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Garcia. “The winner of that fight will be in a position to fight for one of the world titles.”
Holt has bounced back from a one-sided upset defeat to South Africa’s Kaizer Mabuza (23-7-3, 14 KOs) in February 2010 by knocking out his last two opponents. He stopped journeyman Lenin Arroyo (20-15-1, 4 KOs) in the first round Jan. 29 in Pontiac, Mich., and then stopped former IBF lightweight champ Julio Diaz (38-7, 27 KOs) with a crushing left hook in the third round of an ESPN2 main event May 13 in Santa Ynez, Calif.
“This is a great fight for Kendall,” said Mike Skowronski, Holt’s trainer. “Winning this fight will put him right back to where he was.”
Holt thought his impressive victory over Diaz would lead to a title fight against Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse on the Hopkins-Dawson undercard. Matthysse (28-2, 26 KOs) instead will meet Mexico’s Erik Morales (51-7, 35 KOs) for the vacant WBC 140-pound crown Sept. 17 in Las Vegas, on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz undercard.
The Holt-Garcia fight will be the 10-round co-feature on an HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast that’ll pit Philadelphia’s Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs, 1 NC) against Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs, 1 NC) in the 12-round main event at Staples Center. Hopkins, 46, will make the first defense of the WBC light heavyweight title he won from Canada’s Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) on May 21 in Montreal.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.