by James Slater – Any dreams Kendal Holt may have had of once again become a world champion took a big hit last night in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as the former WBO light-welterweight champion was forced to remain on his stool after six completed rounds of his fight with Kaizer Mabuza of Johannesburg, South Africa. 28 year-old Holt of Paterson , N.J took some hard shots from the physically much stronger 30-year-old and after the 6th-round he was pulled out by his trainer. Holt falls to 25-4(13). Mabuza is now 23-6-3(14)..
Coming back after a ten month layoff that followed his exciting points loss to Timothy Bradley, the man known as “Rated R” really needed a win last night. Fighting for a shot at the IBF 140-pound title that will soon be contested by holder Juan Urango and WBC champ Devon Alexander, Holt was one win away from again being able to knock on the world title door. It will now be the 30-year-old from South Africa who will look towards a fight with the Urango-Alexander winner, however.
Fighting in America for the first time as a pro, Mabuza sure made an impressive debut. Now having won his last eight bouts in a row since losing on points to Emmanuel Lartey of Ghana, Mabuza can look ahead to a big payday or two. A solid body puncher, as Holt found out last night, the man who has been stopped just twice in his pro career (the first time being in his pro debut way back in Feb. of 2000 – by countryman and former IBF 147-pound ruler Isaac Hlatshawayo; Hlatscwayo also holding a points win over Mabuza) is also a hard worker who has good accuracy. A fight between he and either Urango or Alexander could be very interesting. But where does Holt go from here?
Losing for just the fourth time as a pro, and being stopped for only the second time as a 140-pounder, Holt is almost sure to box on. His days as a big name may well have ended, though – unless he can get himself a couple of good wins in the near future. Holt has never quit in a fight before (technically, he never last night, as he was pulled out after the 6th-round) and having retired on his stool last night, his confidence will have taken a big blow. Less than two years ago, Holt was boxing better than ever; winning big fights against the likes of Ricardo Torres (in a rematch of an earlier, wild defeat) and Demetrius Hopkins. Now those days seem a long time ago.
From a purely selfish standpoint, I am saddened Holt lost because it now looks as though we will not be seeing a rubber-match between he and Colombia’s Torres. Who can forget the first two fights these warriors had, the amazing one-round rematch especially? One of the most thrilling rivalries fought at 140-pounds in recent years may not now have a deciding fight. At this point in time, I suspect this is the least of Kendall Holt’s concerns, though.