Boxing Report: Holt Retains Title Over Hopkins on Split Decision
By Ken Hissner at ringside reporting for DoghouseBoxing (Dec 15, 2008) Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME  
Paterson’s Kendall Holt, 25-2 (13) retained his WBO light welterweight title Saturday night with a split decision over late sub Demitrius Hopkins, 28-1-1 (11), of Philadelphia over 12 rounds. Yuri Foreman, 27-0 (8), of Belarus, won a lopsided decision over Ireland’s James Moore, 16-2 (10), in defending his NABF light middleweight title, with both fighters now residents of New York.

The semi-windup started an hour before midnight, EST, in one of the ballrooms in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall and may have been the reason we were trying to stay awake during these 2 not so inspiring fights until 1:30 in the morning.

“I couldn’t fight my kind of fight against such a defensive minded boxer,” said Holt. “We knew each other very well (fought in the amateurs) and neither really wanted to take a chance,” he added. That summed up Holt’s response from a fighter who is usually full of firepower. On Hopkins part it was a little different story. “I think I did good for someone who had been off for 13 months and had to lose 4 pounds 4 days before the fight due to a change of opponents and contracted weight change,” said Hopkins. He was originally scheduled to fight at 144 on the card. What he forgot to mention was it was the opportunity he has waited for since turning pro in 2000 and will never get a rematch if for no other reason, the fans would never demand seeing these 2 together again!

Hopkins had been urged by his trainer “Bozy” Ennis to be more aggressive, especially with uppercuts when Holt came in low trying to avoid the jab Hopkins had in his face. Both fighters spent as much time “smiling” at each other as they did mixing it up. This was a Showtime covered fight that many fighters would give their right arm to be part of. The people expect to be entertained, deservingly so. Since neither fighter deserved to win this one, that is probably why this writer had it 114-114 a draw. Julie Lederman saw it 115-113 for Hopkins. She was overruled by judge’s Louis Rivera, 117-111 and Alan Rubenstein, 116-112, for Holt. At ringside sat the WBC champion Tim Bradley who had already signed to meet Holt if he won, on Showtime. He was the only one that deserved to be smiling knowing he had to fight one of these guys.

Hopkins had Holt missing throughout the fight. He rocked Holt with a left uppercut in the 7th round. Holt came back with a straight right of his own, rocking Hopkins. It was by far the best round of the fight. In the 11th Hopkins again landed an uppercut, but with the right hand this time. It was a very frustrating night for Philly fans watching their fighter on the run for most of the fight instead of sticking the jab on his smaller opponent and landing the uppercut which seemed to find a home when he did. Holt on the other hand would try coming forward, but got immediately tied up inside by Hopkins. He was certainly the harder puncher of the 2 but landed so infrequently it didn’t seem to matter. The referee Alan Huggins had his hands full breaking these 2 apart for most of the fight.

Where Hopkins goes from here at 29, may be to the higher weight division. Holt may be 1 fight away from losing his title to Bradley. One thing for sure, Holt will have a punchers chance if he can get one in. Where does this leave the former champion, Ricardo Torres, 32-2 (28), of Columbia who couldn’t make the weight in what was supposed to be the 3rd fight between him and Holt? Boxing fans will have to wait and see on that one. One thing for sure, if Torres had fought Holt tonight, we at ringside would not have been concerned about dosing off!

The Irish fans were singing and drinking their beer well before James Moore, entered the ring to the Irish banners throughout the crowd. They didn’t have much to cheer about after it got started with Moore chasing Yuri Foreman around the ring until the latter stopped long enough to give Moore a pasting. At times it looked like he was going to get Moore out of there as early as the 1st round on several occasions. In the 11th round Moore suffered a cut on the left eyebrow that gave him a break in the action while taking a pounding from Foreman when referee Randy Neumann suddenly stepped in for some odd reason to bring in the doctor. It allowed Moore to last out the round and eventually the fight. He was very frustrated with the quickness of Foreman and was no match for him. If Foreman was not so light a puncher Moore probably would have been out of there. Foreman is not an easy opponent since he never seems to run out of energy. He can make any opponent look bad. This fight probably would have packed them in up in New York where both are now living but due to the one sidedness of it there won’t be a need.

In 2 of the 6 under card fights the fans were treated to a good mix. Atlantic City’s Qa’id “Kid Dynamite” Muhammad, 4-0 (4), came off the canvas in the 1st round to battle back and stop Julio Valdez, 3-2, of San Antonio, in 1:50 of the 3rd round, of this super flyweight match. Referee Sparkle Lee stopped it due to a vicious body shot by Muhammad that had Valdez on the floor in agony. His left eyebrow had been cut in the 2nd round and it was all down hill from there.

Jersey City’s Jorge Diaz, 7-0 (5), let his hands fly throughout this 6 round bout against Saul Gutierrez, 5-12-2 (1) of Saltillo, Mexico. Even though he took the decision on all 3 judge’s cards by 58-56 and 60-54 twice, it was not easy for the winner. As early as the 2nd round his nose started bleeding and he had blood all over his face for the remainder of the fight. I don’t know who Gutierrez has been losing to, but if he were to be a little more active with his punches, he would have a winning record, not a losing one.

The most impressive fighter on the card was former Olympian, Matt Korobov, 2-0 (2), from Orotukan, Russia. This highly touted prospect destroyed Jason Wahr, 1-2-2, of Virginia Beach, in 2:52 of the 1st round. Managed by Cameron Dunkin, who also has Hopkins, this middleweight looks like the real deal.

Legendary Julio Cesar Chavez’ youngest son, Omar, 13-0-1 (10) of Culiacan, Mexico, had an easy time of it stopping Brian Carden, 8-7 (7), of St. Joseph, Missouri in 1:50 of the 1st round when referee Lee finally put a stop to it at the demanding of the fans in a welterweight 6 round bout.

Glenn Tapia, 1-0 (1), of Paterson made his debut, stopping Edward Smith, 1-2 (1) of New York, in 1:00 of the 2nd round, when referee Lee put a halt to it.

Alex Mejias, 9-1 (4), of Humacao, Puerto Rico, gave away over 100 pounds to Michael Rhodes, 3-4-3 (1), of Philadelphia, who looked like a Butterbean impersonator, who tipped the scales at 345. Mejias had it his way until he came inside on Rhodes. Suddenly in the 5th of this 6 round bout, Rhodes went southpaw and was hit with a right hand that had him out on his feet. He was unable to weather the storm as blood was pouring out of his mouth at 1:23 of the 5th when referee David Franciosi stopped it.

This was a Top Rank promotion, with Bruce Trampler, matchmaker and Lee Samuels doing his usual great public relations job. These 2 are 2 future Hall of Fame candidates in my book who over the years have done a first class job.

Ken at:

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2008