By Keith Idec
Kendall Holt has withdrawn from his scheduled June 22 fight against Josesito Lopez.
Holt, a former WBO junior welterweight champion, told BoxingScene.com that he pulled out of the 12-round bout because he is concerned about boxing outside during the summer in Southern California. Holt had agreed to fight Lopez in an ESPN2 main event, but changed his mind when he learned Dan Goossen, Lopez’s promoter, had secured Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, Calif. as the site for the fight.
“I have no problem at all fighting Lopez,” Holt, 30, said. “But I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I don’t feel comfortable fighting outside. I don’t think it’s a good idea because it’s going to be hot and then you’ve got all the heat from the TV lights. That could a factor and that’s not a chance I should take.”
Soboba Casino holds its fights under a large tent, thus fighters aren’t directly exposed to the sun. The Holt-Lopez fight would’ve started at about 7 p.m. PDT, when the sun is still shining, yet weaker than earlier in the day.
According to weatherreports.com, the average high temperature in San Jacinto in June is 91 degrees. The average low temperature is 51 degrees.
Lopez is from nearby Riverside, Calif., but Holt said that wasn’t an issue because his attorney, Patrick English, had received an assurance from the IBF that California-based judges would not be assigned to what was to be an elimination fight for the No. 2 spot in the IBF’s 140-pound rankings.
Goossen is expected to keep Lopez in the main event and find a replacement for Holt (28-5, 16 KOs), a Paterson, N.J., native who’s coming off a second-round technical knockout victory over Baltimore’s Tim Coleman (19-3-1, 5 KOs). Holt dropped Coleman four times in that fight, which also was televised as an ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” main event March 16 from Cabazon, Calif.
Dominating Coleman helped Holt overcome a 12-round split decision defeat to since-crowned WBC 140-pound champion Danny Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) in his previous fight, a WBC elimination match Oct. 15 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Lopez, 27, lost his last fight, but he gave highly touted prospect Jessie Vargas (19-0, 9 KOs) the toughest fight of his career. Lopez lost a split decision in their 10-rounder Sept. 17 in Las Vegas.
Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs) knocked out previously unbeaten Mike Dallas Jr. (18-2-1, 7 KOs) in the bout before he lost to Vargas.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.