Holt stifles Arnaoutis-title shot next! Commanding win sets up fight with WBO Champ Torres

20.04.07 - By Mike Indri - Retired Boxers Foundation - ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - No one had to tell Kendall Holt the importance of his WBO jr. welterweight title fight eliminator bout against the rugged and dangerous "Mighty" Mike Arnaoutis. "This is my life," the talented fighter from Paterson, NJ would say.

Headlining in Showtime's "Sho-Box, The Next Generation" series Main Event, staged in Arnaoutis's backyard of Atlantic City, would be a career defining, and life changing, fight for the twenty-five-year old boxer.

The counter-punching, mega-skilled, Holt rose to the occasion, turning in one of the "smartest" fights in his twenty-three fight professional career.

Taking advantage of his superior hand speed and ring savvy, Holt carried the early rounds and was practically pitching a shutout at the fight's midway point (59-55 on all three judge's scorecards).

While it was Holt's advantage in speed that was frustrating and shutting down any Arnaoutis attack, it was also the intelligent fight plan, which had the normally sound boxing and aggressive Greek contender fighting a tentative fight.

Outworking his overwhelmed opponent, Holt's razor sharp jab most often found its mark, as Arnaoutis's reddened face and bloodied head would attest. More importantly, the constant non-friendly reminder also stymied any chance Arnaoutis had of surmounting any kind of attack.

The fight was already in the bag for Holt, as both fighters touched gloves in the center of the ring, to begin the twelve and final round, but a short, swift right hand caught Arnaoutis flush on the chin and dropped the feisty fighter to the deck - on the seat of his pants!

Even though Arnaoutis easily beat referee Benjy Esteves' count, the look of panic and concern filled the bruised and reddened face of "Mighty Mike"', who had NEVER been knocked down before, either in the amateurs or pros!

"I thought he (Arnaoutis) would be more aggressive, which would have allowed me to counter punch more. So, I just popped my jab" said the jubilant Holt afterwards." I had to win this fight to get to the next level. I did, and now I'm fighting for the title!"
A tremendous win for Kendall Holt, now 22-1 (12 KO's), who always had the talent and tools to move to the next level - and now has the maturity and smarts of a well disciplined and educated boxer.

Next up for the WBO's # 1 contender will be a title fight against current belt holder Ricardo Torres, who defeated the previously undefeated Arnaoutis, now 17-2-1 (9KO's) for the vacant WBO title with a highly disputed split decision victory this past November in Las Vegas. The title became vacant once former division champion Miquel Cotto moved up to the 147 lb. class.

We wish Kendall well, as he has truly earned what boxing is just starting to give him…financial support for himself, and his three-year old son Keshon.

In the "Sho-Box The Next Generation" Co-Feature:

A battle of undefeated heavyweight prospects left something to be desired. Mike Marrone, 17-0 with 13 KO's, fighting out of Vero Beach, Florida, took on Chicago's Malachy Farrell, 15-0 (12 KO's), in what many claimed would be a showcase of the youth and talent of tomorrow's heavyweight division.
Let's hope not.

Both Marrone & Farrell appear to be nice guys and should be commended for getting into the ring and fighting with heart, yet neither fighter fought worthy of the Showtime television exposure, dubbed a "heavyweight special attraction".

The twenty-one-year old Marrone, under the tutelage of Gus Curren and Lou Duva started the eight round bout off in aggressive fashion, while Farrell, 27, a two-time Chicago Golden Gloves Champion, landed less frequently, but with more power on his punches.

Appearing to have hurt Marrone with a solid right hand in round three, Farrell let his dazed opponent off the hook with a less than spirited attack which would cost the proud Irish fighter dearly in the eyes of the judges.

While languishing through several non-eventful rounds, Farrell again had Marrone hurt and holding on after landing several short uppercuts, and a stiff right hand, which Marrone was never able to get out of the way from.

While many cheered as the listless fight was over, more would soon vehemently boo as Marrone was awarded a highly disputed majority decision win. Judge Eugenia Williams saw the bout a 76-76 draw, while both Tom Kaczmarek and Pierre Benoist scored it 78-74 for Marrone.

"It was my fault, I let him off the hook when I had him hurt," realized Farrell afterwards. "I didn't do enough."
While many of the 1,500 at the sold-out Bally's Ballroom apparently disagreed, the still undefeated Marrone saw the decision as fit. "I outworked him and I put pressure on him all the time, of course I won the fight!"

Lou Duva felt the same way. "I thought he (Marrone) won the fight. He could have won it easier and stopped this guy if he listened to what we told him."

On the Star Boxing Promotions undercard: After getting dropped by a crushing right hand midway through the first round, Vero Beach, Fl. native Mike Stafford clubbed his way to a four round unanimous decision victory over an exhausted Zeferino Albino. Albino, from Philadelphia, dropped to 1-1, while Stafford improved to 2-0 (1 KO) and made his corner, headed by the revered Lou Duva, very happy with the workmanlike effort.

In the next four rounder, young and obviously inexperienced jr. welterweight Roberto Acevedo took home the "Andrew Golota award" for his disappointing disqualification loss to Philadelphia's Ray Robinson. Hurting Robinson early in the first stanza, Acevedo pummeled his much taller and lankier foe as referee David Fields looked on intently and came very close to stopping what appeared to be a one-sided contest. Robinson survived and managed to clear his head by the beginning of round three, sorely behind on all three judges scorecards.

For whatever reason the Puerto Rican fighter imploded and lost his fighting focus. Throwing Robinson to the deck and getting warned in the process, Acevedo complained about low blows and actually took a knee in the corner, which was counted as a knockdown. Acevedo again tossed Robinson to the canvas, which resulted in a one point penalty. As round four began it was obvious that the fight was out of Acevedo, who again picked Robinson up and dropped him to the deck, this time being the last time, as referee David Fields had seen enough and called a halt to the fiasco at the 2:38 mark of the fourth round. Being awarded the disqualification win, "The New" Ray Robinson remains unbeaten at 3-0, while Acevedo slips to 1-1 (1 KO).

Eric Hunter pounded the game, yet overmatched, Vineash Rungea over six rounds to climb to 7-1 (3 KO's), while the gutsy Rungea fell to 2-7-2.

Hunter, fighting out of Philadelphia, counter punched effectively with sharp, crisp punches and impressed all three of the judges who scored the bout 60-54 for the crafty young featherweight prospect. Listening to the instructions of head trainer Pernell Whitaker, Jersey City Jr. middleweight Raymond Biggs, Jr. out boxed stubborn journeyman Carlos Aballe over eight rounds to gain a unanimous decision victory. Using a strong body attack, which hampered the Miami Floridian, Biggs controlled most of the action to garner an 80-72 shutout and climb to 6-0 (5 KO's). Aballe, relegated to opponent status, falls to 5-6 (3 KO's) with this beating.

The Showtime Network, along with Star Boxing and Duva Boxing Promotions, brought some good boxing action to the intimate and close-up setting of the Bally's Event Center, which the sold-out crowd obviously enjoyed.

A sad note, on an otherwise good boxing night, was the absence of the late Paul Venti. Paul, involved with our sport for over sixty years, passed away recently and was a mainstay on the NJ boxing scene. A true gentlemen and class person, Paul was one of the better known judges for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, after his many years serving as a highly respected boxing referee. A dear friend to all within the boxing community, Paul also served as President of Ring 25, a veteran's boxing organization which was there to always help boxers in need. Paul Venti was truly a boxing legend, and is sorely missed.

Mike Indri
Retired Boxers Foundation

Article posted on 21.04.2007

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