By Keith Idec
Zab Judah’s loss is Kendall Holt’s gain.
Judah allowed an IBF deadline to pass Monday, which allowed representatives for Lamont Peterson, the sanctioning organization’s junior welterweight title-holder, to begin planning negotiations with representatives Kendall Holt, the IBF’s next available contender.
Judah decided to forgo an opportunity to challenge Peterson because he is considered the front-runner to become Danny Garcia’s opponent for Garcia’s next WBC super lightweight title defense at Barclays Center in Judah’s native Brooklyn. Judah sat ringside Saturday night as Philadelphia’s Garcia annihilated Mexican legend Erik Morales in the main event of the inaugural boxing card at Barclays Center.
Headbangers Promotions, a company operated by the family of Peterson’s trainer, Barry Hunter, was the only promoter to bid on the IBF-mandated bout between Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), of Washington, D.C., and Judah (42-7, 29 KOs, 2 NC), a Las Vegas resident. That minimum bid of $50,000 would’ve left Judah with $12,500 after the required 75-25 purse split in favor of the champion.
Headbangers Promotions and Gary Shaw, whose Totowa, N.J.-based company promotes Holt (28-5, 16 KOs), have until Nov. 22 to come to contractual terms. If an agreement isn’t reached by then, the Peterson-Holt fight also would go to purse bid, in accordance with IBF rules.
“Zab is my boy, so I guess he helped me get this fight and now he can get the Garcia fight,” Holt said to BoxingScene.com. “I understand that Zab turned the fight down because it was only $12,500 and he’s trying to get the Danny Garcia fight.
“That fight looks like it’s going to happen, so it doesn’t make sense for him to turn it down. If Danny Garcia would have lost [to Morales], I don’t think he would’ve turned this fight down because it’s a great opportunity for him. The real money comes after you win the world championship.”
Nevertheless, this scenario couldn’t be more beneficial for the 31-year-old Holt, a former WBO junior welterweight champion. The Paterson, N.J., native wasn’t sure after a split-decision defeat to Garcia (26-0, 15 KOs) in a WBC elimination match a year ago in Los Angeles how many fights he’d have to win before earning another title shot.
A four-knockdown, second-round demolition of Baltimore’s Tim Coleman (19-3-1, 5 KOs) in an ESPN2 main even March 16 in Cabazon, Calif., helped move Holt up to No. 4 in the IBF’s 140-pound rankings. He hasn’t boxed since overwhelming Coleman, but he has resumed training after undergoing surgery two months ago to repair partial tears to the labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
When Judah walked away from a potential Peterson fight, Holt was the Springfield, N.J.-based organization’s next available contender because the IBF’s No. 2 spot is vacant and third-ranked Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) isn’t available to enter negotiations after a brutal, seventh-round technical knockout loss to Brandon Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs) on Oct. 13 in Carson, Calif.
“I think Lamont’s going to come in great shape,” Holt said, “and I’m going to come in super-duper great shape, and it’s going to be a great fight. Stylistically, it’s a great fight on paper already.”
The 28-year-old Peterson hasn’t fought since upsetting Amir Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) by split decision for the IBF and WBA titles Dec. 10 in Washington, D.C. Their May 19 rematch in Las Vegas was canceled May 9 because Peterson tested positive for testosterone during random, pre-fight tests for performance-enhancing drugs.
Holt wants pre-fight testing for his bout with Peterson, but he isn’t consumed with Peterson’s recent history.
“I’m concerned about it for this fight and every one of my fights thereafter because so many guys have been getting caught lately,” Holt said. “When you go back in time and look at who’s been getting caught, and really I’m a guy who doesn’t even take supplements or vitamins or anything, to me it’s just cheating.
“I’m not saying that’s what happened with Lamont, but all the other guys who have been getting caught before are cheating. So I’ll have to talk to my team and see what they have to say about the situation. But steroids or no steroids, when you’re in shape and you’re coming to fight, let’s fight. I can’t worry about Lamont or any type of advantages that he may feel he has. All I’ve got to worry about is me getting in the best shape I have been in, in my life, and winning another championship of the world.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.