By Keith Idec
Gary Shaw was blunt about what Kendall Holt’s fight Friday night against Tim Coleman means to the former WBO junior welterweight champion’s career.
“If he wins, he moves on and earns another payday,” said Shaw, whose Totowa, N.J.-based promotional company represents Holt and Coleman. ‘If he loses, I’m not sure that there’s anything left in his boxing career. It’s a turning point for him. He has fought the best and he’s a former world champion, but he was not successful in his last fight. He’s moving up to welterweight and he’s got to be successful in this fight. I think it’s all on the line for him.”
The 30-year-old Holt (27-5, 15 KOs), of Paterson, N.J., and the 27-year-old Coleman (19-2-1, 5 KOs), a Baltimore native who trains in Las Vegas, both have officially moved up from junior welterweight to welterweight for this ESPN2 main event in Cabazon, Calif. Though they both have technically competed as welterweights during their careers, they intend to stay at this weight rather than chase opportunities at junior welterweight.
They’re both coming off losses as well.
Detroit’s Vernon Paris (26-0, 15 KOs, 3 NC) technically knocked out Coleman in the seventh round of their Aug. 5 fight in Santa Ynez, Calif., where Paris overcame a second-round knockdown to drop Coleman twice in the sixth and once in the seventh before referee Dan Stell stopped it. The heavy-handed Holt lost his last bout by split decision to Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (22-0, 14 KOs), who, despite the official scoring, won their 12-round WBC junior welterweight elimination match pretty clearly Oct. 15 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“[Coleman is] very tough,” Shaw said. “This is not an easy fight for Kendall, but at this stage of Kendall’s career there are no easy fights. The days of easy fights are over. You’ve got to fight your way to the top now. … If he has a good outing on ESPN, things are great. But this is an unforgiving sport and right now the times are really terrible for boxing. The budgets are coming way down.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.