by Chip Mitchell: On Friday February 22, 2013, Lamont “Havoc” Peterson defends his IBF Light Welterweight title against Kendall “Rated R” Holt. The fight will be the main event on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. Co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and Headbanger Promotions, this showcase represents redemption in a way for both fighters, as they each have had taut moments over the past few years. Boxing wouldn’t be the sport that it is today without some form of turbulence.
For Lamont Peterson, it never seems to come easy. He was homeless on the streets of Washington, DC with his brother Anthony for a few years. While some of Lamont’s 12 siblings moved in with friends, Lamont and Anthony moved on to survive alone. They were forced to sleep in bus stations, abandoned cars, or anywhere they could find. Lamont wasn’t even 11 years old during this time. He took the leadership role, as he often fought to protect his younger brother.
The fight that Lamont had in him helped lead to his first stage of redemption. He met his current trainer Barry Hunter and Hunter brought them to the gym. The hard work and dedication paid off, leading Lamont to a professional boxing career. He advanced in the rankings, based in part on numerous appearances on ESPN. His efforts culminated in Lamont winning the IBF Light Welterweight championship. Redemption.
Then the situation with VADA occurred. A rematch to defend the title was scrapped after Lamont tested positive for synthetic testosterone. A potential $1.5 million payday last May has been reduced to a sub $40,000 payday against Holt. Once again, Lamont has seen this movie play out numerous times. He’s had to deal with numerous accusations and chants of “Lamont Cheaterson” from detractors. Just when things seem to be looking up, life takes an uneasy turn for Lamont Peterson.
For Kendall Holt, it never seems to come easy. Kendall was born on the tough streets of Paterson, New Jersey. For some readers familiar with Paterson, this writer need not say more. Kendall had a difficult childhood while being raised by his father. While at a young age, Kendall’s mother was convicted of murdering a homeless man. Holt was eventually taken from his father due to child abuse, and placed into foster care.
Kendall reached his first stage of redemption by becoming a three-time Golden Gloves champion in New Jersey. The promise he displayed as an amateur paid off with Kendall Holt winning his first 15 professional fights. He later parlayed that into winning the WBO Junior Welterweight title.
Then the situation with the FEDS occurred. Kendall was accused of acting as a “bagman” in a drug ring using narcotics stolen from a police evidence locker. As far as boxing, Holt may have lost money because he had to wait for sentencing. While other fighters were plotting their next fights, Kendall’s career was on hold. The future wasn’t promised and prison was a reality.
We Shall Overcome
Despite past shortcomings, the future looks bright for both Lamont Peterson and Kendall Holt. Peterson was cleared (by the IBF) for the failed test and they kept him as champion. More good news followed with a surprise announcement that Golden Boy inked Peterson to a deal. Holt was not sent to prison and actually offered to perform his community service by teaching children how to box. Holt has helped kids in the city where he grew up. In a way, boxing may have saved his life. Maybe the service he offers will do the same for someone else.
Lamont Peterson and Kendall Holt both seek redemption from life’s tribulations once again. On Friday Night Fights this week, they’ll both have that opportunity. Win, lose, or draw, I believe both fighters’ pasts have equipped them with survival skills that will allow them to conquer almost anything. No matter the situation, they shall overcome.
Thanks to Andre M. Johnson (ProImage Communications) and Mario Serrano (Gary Shaw Productions)