By Keith Idec
Kendall Holt has idolized Roy Jones Jr. since he was a little kid.
They’ve become friends in recent years, so when Holt needed a chief second on short notice to work his corner next week for a nationally televised fight against Tim Coleman, Holt didn’t hesitate to ask the former pound-for-pound king. The future Hall-of-Famer gladly accepted that assignment Tuesday.
“I’m really excited about it,” Holt said. “It should make for interesting TV. With Roy being in my corner, I know there will be a lot of eyes on the fight. Besides that, I think people are interested to see how I come back against Tim Coleman. This will just add hype and eyes to the TV for this fight.”
Holt’s father, Barry Porter, has been training the former WBO junior welterweight world champion for his March 16 fight against Baltimore’s Coleman (19-1-1, 5 KOs). Their first training camp since Holt turned pro has gone very well, but Porter has to have surgery next week to repair an Achilles’ tendon injury and won’t be able to travel to work Holt’s corner in Santa Ynez, Calif.
The 30-year-old Holt (27-5, 15 KOs) asked his former trainer, Mike Skrowronski, to fill in for Porter, but a scheduling conflict prevented Skrowonski from committing to helping Holt that night.
Jones, a legendary four-division champion from Pensacola, Fla., doesn’t regularly train boxers, largely because he remains an active fighter and works for HBO as an analyst for the network’s “Boxing After Dark” broadcasts. But Jones and Holt have discussed working together as recently as several months ago, which was what prompted the Paterson, N.J., native to ask for Jones’ assistance Tuesday afternoon.
“When I come back to the corner,” Holt said, “I expect him to tell me the things that he would do if he was in those situations and what he’s seeing. When he does that, I’m going to do whatever he tells me to do.”
Buddy McGirt trained Holt for his last fight, a 12-round, split-decision defeat to Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (22-0, 14 KOs) on Oct. 15 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. McGirt temporarily trained Holt because Skowronski accepted a travel-heavy management position with a New York-based security company and couldn’t commit to training fighters full-time.
Porter had not trained his son since Holt was an amateur in 1998. Holt said he expects that Porter and Jones will confer about what they’ve been working on in training camp sometime before the fight.
The Holt-Coleman match, a 10-round welterweight bout, will be televised by ESPN2 as the main event of a “Friday Night Fights” telecast from Chumash Casino Resort.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.