ESPN Friday Night Fights returned to Washington, DC as IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont "Havoc" Peterson (31-1, 16 KOs) retained his crown by stopping No. 2 ranked contender Kendall "Rated R" Holt (28-6, 16 KOs) in round eight of a scheduled 12-round bout.
Peterson, a native of the DC area, started fast in the opening stanza. While Holt looked to counter, Peterson went right to work. His long jab found the mark. He beat Holt to the punch with a right hand.
Holt had some success with his own jab in round two. Peterson, 29, moved side to side. He some confused by Holt's activity. Holt found the range with a double left hook to the ribs of the defending champion.
Peterson, inactive for 14 months because of a positive test for synthetic testosterone, wanted to be the boss in round three. Holt, his left hand low, looked to land his right. Both fighters jabbed, but Holt’s punch output was more effective. His punches went to the head and body.
Holt,31, had captured two of the first three rounds on this writers scorecard.
He turned up the heat in the first minute in round four. His double hooks were effective. Holt's confidence was growing until Peterson clipped him with a big left hook. Holt was hurt. Peterson shifted his attack to the body and then landed a looping right hand that put the Patterson, NJ native down on his knees.
Holt beat the count and survived the round.
Peterson took his time in round five. The entire momentum of the fight had changed. Holt tried to use the ring. The champion went right back to the body. The work was breaking Holt down. Peterson wound up and clocked Holt with a right. The confident Peterson connected with another combination at the bell.
Holt was recovered enough to go to Peterson’s body in round six. He wanted to box and move. Peterson stalked and ignored his punches. A combination of punches to the head and body, punctuated by a sweeping left hook put Holt down for the second time. The gutsy challenger was up at eight and in survival mode. He made it to the bell.
Peterson’s work rate continued in rounds seven and eight. Holt was trying, but he was being overwhelmed by Peterson’s steady attack. Peterson backed him into the ropes and let his hands go. A right hand down the middle, followed by a left to the ear staggered Holt. A follow-up combination convinced Referee Tony Weeks to stop the bout as Holt sagged into the ropes.
The time was 1:42 minutes of round eight.
"I spent a lot of energy trying to get him out, but I just had to settle down and let it come to me," Peterson said."I spent a lot of energy trying to get him out, but I just had to settle down and let it come to me."