Kendall Holt - "I'm Excited To See What Torres Brings To The Table For Fight Three"
19.11.08 - Exclusive interview by James Slater - Kendall Holt and Ricardo Torres have unfinished business. Hugely so. Thankfully for the fans, this unfinished business is (hopefully) going to be sorted out on the second Saturday in December. And if fight-three is anywhere near as good as the two men's initial fights, which were as thrilling as they were filled with controversy, we are in for something special. Fight one, which took place in Torres' backyard of Barranquilla, Colombia back in September of 2007, saw Holt, who was ahead on the scorecards, stopped in the 11th round - but only after beer cans had been thrown into the ring by over-excited Torres fans and after Holt had allegedly had his leg grabbed by someone who reached inside the ring.
Article posted on 20.11.2008
A rematch was deemed necessary, and the two colourful 140-pounders met again, this time in Las Vegas, this past July. More controversy occurred, however, as Holt KO'd Torres in one of the wildest opening rounds in boxing history - but only after Holt had landed an unintentional head butt on the defending champion.. Without this butt, Torres and other people said, the KO would not have come. Now, this December 13th, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the two combatants meet for a rubber-match that will hopefully give us an outright and fair winner from one of the light-welterweight division's most exciting modern day rivalries.
Taking time out from his training to speak with this writer today (Nov 19), Holt, nicknamed, of course "Rated R," sounded massively confident of victory. Currently, 24-2(13), the 27-year-old from Paterson, New Jersey is convinced he will advance to 25-2 in December.
James Slater: It's a pleasure to speak with you, Kendall. Firstly, how's training been going?
Kendall Holt: It's been vigorous. It's been hard, but it's also been great. I'm going longer and harder. I feel great.
J.S: Who have you been sparring with?
K.H: My regular sparring partner, Steve Martinez and one other guy. They come forward, like we know Torres is gonna do.
J.S: The last fight in July had an awesome start, with one of the best 1st rounds ever. Can we possibly expect anything like that this time?
K.H: I'm just looking to win. I'm actually excited to see what he brings to the table for a third time. I've made preparations to be ready for him bringing it hard, and if he does, then great. Like I tell everyone, being down does not make you out. Just because I was down twice in the 1st round, it didn't mean I was anywhere near out. He made me fight, and when that happens good things happen for me.
J.S: Is that 1st round KO the best KO you've ever scored?
K.H: Yes it is (laughs).
J.S: It was also the round of the year, do you agree?
K.H: Yes, I do.
J.S: What about when Torres says he wouldn't have been KO'd if it had not been for the head butt? Do you think you'd have still stopped him anyway, without the butt?
K.H: Well, it wasn't really him who said that, it was more his people. But you know, those kind of things happen in boxing. He hit me while I was down, which could also have had a big effect on the fight, but no-one said anything about that. It wasn't the head butt that knocked him out, it was my right hand.
J.S: As you know, there was controversy in the first fight, too. And you were the victim of it. Are you looking to settle the score now, once and for all?
K.H: I'm happy to settle the score. I never really took advantage in the first fight, like I did in the second fight. I was winning the first fight, but I never went for it like I should have when I had him hurt. I kind of let him off the ropes to get himself together. I never made that mistake in the second fight though. In my mind, I'm 2-0 over Torres.
J.S: Is it fair to say this third fight is the biggest fight of your career?
K.H: Yes it is. Every fight is bigger than the last one. They get bigger and bigger. And this fight is good for boxing, because it's a trilogy. You don't get that many trilogies in boxing any more.
J.S There is talk it may be Timothy Bradley for the winner of December's fight. Have you heard that?
K.H: I've not listened to any of that, I am only concentrating on this upcoming fight. But I feel I have years ahead of me in boxing, I have a long career ahead of me.
J.S: You feel you are at your peak at age 27?
K.H: Yes, I feel I'm approaching my peak now. I actually feel I'm getting even better.
J.S: Just talking about Bradley again, what do you think of him as a fighter?
K.H: I've never seem him fight. I've only seen highlights of the [Junior] Witter fight. So I really can't say.
J.S: Do you feel you are the best light-welterweight in the world now?
K.H: I do, but at the moment the crown belongs to Ricky Hatton. When he and I meet we will settle the score. That fight will be a dream come true.
J.S: Do you think he gets past Paulie Malignaggi?
K.H: Yes, I think he gets past Malignaggi. I'll get past my fight and then hopefully we can meet.
J.S: You have no plans to move up to welterweight then? I know you've boxed at 147 before.
K.H: I plan on staying at 140. There's no reason to move up right now. If big money were offered I would maybe move up. But there are a lot of names at 140 right now.
J.S: It's been great speaking with you, champ. What is your final prediction for December 13th?
K.H: Kendall Holt retains his WBO light-welterweight title. I'm predicting a win. If a KO comes, it comes.
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