WASHINGTON, D.C. — The prevailing feeling entering their IBF junior welterweight title fight Friday night was that Kendall Holt was more likely to knock out Lamont Peterson than vice versa.
The determined, relentless Peterson overpowered the heavy-handed Holt, however, and won their ESPN2 main event by eighth-round technical knockout to retain his 140-pound championship. Peterson, who dropped Holt in the fourth and sixth rounds, unloaded a barrage of power punches to a defenseless Holt’s head early in the eighth round and referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight with a disoriented, hurt Holt still on his feet.
Washington’s Peterson improved to 31-1-1 and recorded his 16th knockout, much to the delight of an overwhelmingly pro-Peterson crowd at the D.C. Armory. Holt, a Paterson, N.J., native and Woodland Park resident, fell to 28-6 and was denied in his bid to become a two-time world champion in his first title fight in nearly four years.
“I could not ask for anything better,” Peterson said. “I spent a lot of time and energy trying to get him out, but I knew I just had to settle down and let him come to me.”
Holt, who was stopped for the fourth time as a pro, controlled much of the action during the second and third rounds, but Peterson responded emphatically to Holt’s power shots during an action-packed fourth round. A Peterson counter left hand appeared to wobble Holt and he dropped Holt with a right hand toward the end of the round to take complete control of the fight.
Holt waited for Weeks to count to eight and got up. Peterson promptly attacked him, but the round ended soon thereafter.
Peterson pressured Holt and hammered him with body and head shots throughout the fifth and sixth rounds. An accumulation of punches dropped Holt again against the ropes toward the end of the sixth, but he waited for Weeks to count to eight, reached his feet and survived even more serious trouble than he experienced in the fourth.
“I felt one of his shots and it hit me on the button, and I did not feel anything,” Peterson said. “So I knew I could put it together and get him out of there.”
Holt, who was led to the ring by former Giants Super Bowl champions Brandon Jacobs and Plaxico Burress, was about a 3-1 underdog and had hoped to rejuvenate a 12-year pro career that peaked in July 2008.
Earlier, Paterson cruiserweight Elvin Sanchez scored the biggest win of his four-year career by recording a third-round technical knockout win against previously undefeated Venroy July.
Sanchez (6-2-1, 5 KOs) overcame a second-round knockdown to drop July (13-1-2, 6 KOs) in the third round. July got up, but referee Malik Waleed stopped the fight with five seconds left in the third, despite July’s protest.
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