Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson tops a Saturday card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. That fight might not be a barnburner, as Dawson is a disciplined technician who doesn't make mental mistakes, and the style matchup between he and Hopkins, who feasts on his foes' mental mistakes, might not jell. But I'm pretty amped for one of the undercard attractions, which pits Kendall Holt, who tore himself away from the mean streets of Paterson, N.J., to become a junior welter champ, against touted prospect Danny Garcia (age 23; 21-0 with 14 KOs).
Garcia's crew at Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions thinks their kid from Philly will get a boost in reputation if he knocks off the 30-year-old Holt, who brings a 27-4 with 15 KOs mark to the table.
I talked to Holt not long ago, a pro since March 2001, and picked his brain on the matchup.
"Garcia is a great kid, he's coming up, until now they've been picking the right fights for him for moving his development process along," the fighter said. "Now I think they've bitten off more than they can chew in choosing me as an opponent. They think I'm the same Kendall Holt and it's my job to prove them wrong."
Holt is one of those guys who you have to see as something of a miracle, because he had dead-end kid written all over him. His mom was into drugs, and his dad wasn't around, so he went into foster care at age 5. His dad came back into the picture, but then his mom hit bottom; in 1992 she was sentenced to 32 years in prison for a so-called "thrill killing." (Prosecutors said it was a thrill killing of a homeless man, others maintain she was dealing, and was protecting her stash from a robber.) She was released in 2001, but Holt still drifted.
He dealt drugs, and only gave that up after he had three pro fights. His career had peaks and valleys, as his self-discipline wavered, but in 2008, he won the WBO junior welter crown, in a rematch with champ Ricardo Torres. He defended it once, against Demetrius Hopkins, before losing the strap to Timothy Bradley in his next outing. During that time frame, he was also drifting back into his old ways.
Check back for Holt's take on who he wants after he beats Garcia.
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