By Cliff Rold
30-year old former WBO Jr. Welterweight titlist Kendall Holt (28-5, 15 KO) of Paterson, New Jersey, rebounded from a loss in his last contest with a blowout, four knockdown second round stoppage at Welterweight of 27-year old Tim Coleman (19-3-1, 5 KO) of Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday night at the Morongo Resort and Spa in Cabazon, California.
Holt came in three pounds under the Welterweight limit at 144, Coleman a pound lighter at 143.
The taller Holt began the fight moving backwards and side to side, steadily and with purpose. The energetic Coleman leaned back and pawed with his left jab as he pushed forward, missing with a big right and getting clipped inside by Holt. Driven to the ropes, Coleman bounced right off and pulled his hands high as he resumed pursuit.
Holt measured, touching Coleman with his left, and locking up when Coleman charged in recklessly. In the clinch, Coleman did his best to dig to the body. Referee Ray Corona called for a break and both men stepped back before assuming the established postures.
Holt picked up the stiffness and frequency of his jab and soon was following with a right over the top and a combination to the body. Coleman attempted a weak lead left hook and missed, following with some soft, long jabs.
With thirty seconds to go, it appeared the two were settling into a calm passing into the second round. Holt changed the impression with a single, explosive left to the belly. Coleman dropped as if stabbed and jumped right back up as Corona dished out the mandatory eight. Holt attempted a hard flurry when action resumed and Coleman wisely tied up.
A clash of heads drew a brief pause in the action at the start of the second. When action resumed, Coleman’s defensive posture suggested a more alert man than had been seen in the first. Holt dug the left to the body again anyways. Rather than falling, Coleman pushed forward hard with a wild salvo. Holt tied him up with his back near the ropes.
Broken from the clinch, Holt came forward with a hard left just around the ear. Two more came whistling around the earmuff guard of Coleman, finished with a cuffing right that drove Coleman to his knees.
It didn’t take long for Coleman to be hurt again. Relaxing for just the wrong split second, Coleman let himself get tagged with a blind left hook, recovering to muffle the right behind it. Driven to the ropes, Coleman ate another right and his glove touched the canvas for the third knockdown of the fight.
Shrugging his shoulders in frustration and Corona dealt another eight count, Coleman nodded that he could go on but continued with little spirit. A Holt right to the body sent him towards the ropes and a left hook had Coleman’s glove again scraping the floor. His corner had seen enough, the white towel of surrender forcing Corona to end matters at 2:23 of round two.
Coleman drops his second in a row by knockout while Holt bounces back from a split decision loss to undefeated Danny Garcia last October. Holt was all smiles in the post-fight interview. Holt acknowledged he’d picked up on Coleman’s troubles with body shots in his last fight with Vernon Paris.
“When it’s a blueprint laid down in front of you, your only recourse is to follow it. You may not have to follow it exactly the way you saw it, but you would do yourself some good by following that blueprint.”
Holt was seconded in the corner by future Hall of Famer and former four-division champion Roy Jones Jr. on Friday night. Asked about Jones’s influence Holt stated, “The teaching really came in last night. He came to my hotel room last night. We sat and we talked and the biggest thing he did for me is he taught me some things about myself, about boxing outside the ring, and I think that helped me tonight.”
Asked if he would continue his career at Welterweight or his more familiar Jr. Welterweight domain, Holt indicated a return to 140 lbs.
The televised opener was an educational eight round clash at Jr. Lightweight.
25-year old Gabriel Tolmajyan (12-1-1, 3 KO), 128 ½, of Glendale, California, learned his first lesson in defeat in his third professional fight. On Friday, he looked like he might have passed the same lesson on to undefeated 24-year old Abraham Lopez (17-0, 12 KO). It surely was a closely contested affair with Lopez leaving the ring with a nice shiner on his left eye. Instead, Tolmayjan learned a lesson about being the opponent whose effort wasn’t likely to be rewarded no matter what he did. The final scores of 78-74 twice and 79-73 were head scratching if par for the course in a year where odd scoring is the norm.
The referee was Marty Denkin.
Jr. Featherweight: Roman Morales (10-0, 6 KO) UD6 Rufino Serrano (12-4, 0 KO)
The card was televised in the U.S. on ESPN2 as part of its “Friday Night Fights” series, promoted by Thompson Boxing and Gary Shaw Productions.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]