By Keith Idec
Gary Shaw won’t worry about bringing Kendall Holt down from their native New Jersey to Washington, D.C., to fight in Lamont Peterson’s hometown.
That’s because Shaw, Holt’s promoter, believes Holt will knock out Peterson when they fight Feb. 22 at the D.C. Armory. A deal was finalized Friday for Peterson and Holt to meet there for Peterson’s IBF junior welterweight title in an ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” main event.
“I’ve always said that Kendall is the best puncher at 140 pounds in the world,” Shaw told BoxingScene.com. “Nobody can punch like Kendall, and he did that with a bad wing. Now that he got his shoulder taken care of [in an August surgical procedure], I think he’ll be a lot more dangerous. I have a lot of confidence in him. I think Kendall wins the fight.”
Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) and Holt (28-5, 16 KOs), a native of Paterson, N.J., are both in the midst of long layoffs.
The 28-year-old Peterson hasn’t fought since scoring a controversial split-decision win against Amir Khan in December 2011 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.
The 31-year-old Holt hasn’t boxed since dropping Tim Coleman four times on his way to a second-round technical knockout victory March 16 in Cabazon, Calif. The former WBO junior welterweight champion had surgery 4½ months ago to repair tears to the labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder, but returned to training in October.
Shaw won an IBF purse bid last month for the right to promote Peterson-Holt, but he said Friday that it was a mere formality and that both boxers would make more than his minimum $50,000 bid would entitle Peterson ($37,000) and Holt ($12,500). The fight figures to do well at the box office because Peterson’s fight against Khan draw a crowd in excess of 8,000 to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
The site favors Peterson in terms of crowd support, but Shaw doesn’t think that’ll prevent Holt from becoming a two-time world champion.
“I’m not afraid to take my fighters anywhere in the world,” Shaw said. “I’ll make sure that the playing field is level, and then the fighter has got to do the rest. I took [Australia’s] Danny Geale to Germany twice and he got a decision twice. Why should I be afraid to take Kendall Holt to Washington, D.C.? We’re going to go down to D.C. and come back with that title.”
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.