By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada
Photos: Tom Casino/Showtime
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In a 140lb unification clash, undefeated WBC super lightweight champion Timothy Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) took the belt of WBO junior welterweight champion Kendall Holt (25-3, 13 KOs) vis twelve round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Holt dropped Bradley in round one with a big left hook, but Bradley recovered and went on to outwork Holt in most of the ensuing rounds, although Holt landed the harder punches. Holt knocked down Bradley again with seconds left in the fight, but it wasn’t enough as Bradley won 114-112, 115-111, 115-111.
A fast start and a strong finish, two things when combined almost always assure victory for a boxer, especially when a pair of knockdown are added into the equation as was the case for Kendall Holt Saturday night in Montreal. But it was not to be for Kendall Holt who had fellow New York Giant running back Brandon Jacobs and another fairly good Jersey fighter Arturo Gatti shouting encouragement from ringside.
Holt who scored nicely with a left hand counter in the opening round from the centre of the ring that put Bradley reeling backwards and onto his backside against the ropes simply didn’t follow up and let his opponent who initially bounced straight up from the knockdown get back into the fight and become stronger as the rounds progressed. Despite the initial mistake, Bradley would go on and fight an intelligent fight, starting from the second when the backside of his bleu-blanc-rouges hockey inspired trunks hit the canvas.
Never down in his career, Bradley was back up faster than he went down, but then wnet back down to one knee on the advice of his corner and trainer Joel Diaz. “I follow whatever the tell me to do,” said Bradley afterwards, “It was all part of the camp, we worked on things like getting knocked down and what I was supposed to do. That the mistake fighters make, getting up too fast. I got up and looked at my corner and they told me to go down. I did and got up at eight, that was something we worked on at camp. I got up and I was clear, everything was fine.”
With the Palm Springs fighter able to clear his head, he came out for the remainder of the fight and proceeded to frustrate Holt, attacking the body in what was often a very physical fight, never letting him get truly on track. In actuality, both fighters had much of their top-shelf arsenal negated by the other. Holt would land a smattering of left hooks the rest of the way, but was largely negated by Bradley who had trouble of his own landing big shots. “My signature punch is that roll the shoulder and right hand and I was trying to catch him with that all night,” said the new unified champion, “I couldn’t land with it, he was prepared for it, definitely prepared for it.”
But while Holt wasn’t able to make the adjustments required, Bradley did and continued to frustrate his opponent, fighting at close quarters, attacking the body and straying low often enough to dishevel his attack.
By the 7th round and Bradley all caught up on the scorecards, the man who wore the WBC Green belt to the ring looked like he was in danger of putting this one away. A mammoth left hook to the body left Holt immediately hanging on “I thought he was going to go down,” said Bradley who was smiling as he described the shot, “We were working on that liver shot and we were aiming right for it, and I think we just missed it, I went after him right after but had to be careful, he still had that great left hook.”
If the body shot wasn’t enough to take the wind out of Holt and drop him to his knees, it was certainly enough to take the winds out of his sails and . The WBO champ seemed completely out of it the next round, back on his feet and disinterested in engaging with the west coast fighter. “I just kept pressing and pressing, wearing him down and breaking him down to the body and get him out of his game plan,” said Bradley, “Once I did that, I think the fight was mine.”
Well, almost. Bradley would end the fight like he had begun it, by getting knocked down, this time in far less telling fashion, but looking identical on the scorecards. Legs spread apart and cornered, Bradley would have his right hand as he tried to turn out of the corner as Holt delivered. “I’m not sure it was knockdown, I thought he pushed my head down.”
The knockdown would lead to a few anxious moments until the scorecards, “I thought dang, I hope I didn’t give away the fight,” Bradley would tell Fightnews when asked what was going through his mind as the cards were being read. But that wasn’t the case and Timothy Bradley remained undefeated in adding the WBO belt to his growing resume.
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While the main event provided the 7,513 Bell Centre fans with a first class fight and unification, the co-feature gave them a reason to stand up and cheer. Twice before Andrade came into Montreal and spoiled the party. Once by stopping now cornerman Otis Grant in a title elimination fight, and once by knocking down Lucian Bute in the waning seconds of their most recent fight.
Twice before he had spoiled the party, but this time the party was reserved for him and again facing a left-hander in Ukranian Vitali Tyspko, he didn’t disappoint. Greeted with cheers usually reserved for one of their own, the Montreal crowd stood and loudly saluted the Mexican born fighter now living in California and training out of Montreal.
Andrade (28-2, 21 KOs) would drop Tsypko (22-3, 12 KOs), with a right hand in round two, put him down again with an uppercut in the seventh, and mostly punish the IBF#2 contender on his way to a 117-109, 117-109, 120-106 victory on the scorecards. Tsypko who, although outgunned, showed great heart but shied away from fighting on the inside after the first two rounds where the bigger stronger Andrade would prove to be effective.
“He’s very economical, he’s patient, he waits and counters,” said Andrade who complained he couldn’t see out of his left eye in the last two rounds of the fight. “I was worried and tried to keep things close. I think it was from a butt, but if it was from a punch, it must have been a good punch.” With the win, Andrade earned a rematch with IBF champion Lucian Bute, buts says he may want a tune-up fight first.
Adrian Diaconu (26-0 15KO) returned home to Montreal in front of 7,513 fans at The Bell Centre for the first time since winning WBC light-heavyweight world champion in his native Romania. Diaconu who became available when his scheduled fight for next week in Rome Italy fell through and was involved in a non-title affair versus local product David Whittom (10-8-1 6KO) who gave the champion eight tough rounds. Diaconu who exhibited heavy hands throughout was able to easily walk away with a 80-72, 80-72, 79-73 victory on the scorecards.
Pressed into service at the last minute because of a world title opportunity for super-featherweight Benoit Gaudet (17-1-12KO) versus Humberto Soto, bantamweight Sebastien Gauthier stepped forward at career high 132.8 pounds and took care of business against the now 1-11 Martin Huppe. Predictably, this one was a mismatch, even at the higher weight and Gauthier scored a knockdown at the end of round three, left to continue, this one ended shortly afterwards with Gauthier again knocking down his overmatched opponent and referee Alain Villeneuve stopping the action at 1:23 of the fourth.
Middleweight Paul Clavette (15-2-1 3KO) scored his 3rd career knockout, handling Jacques Lemaire and dispatching him at 1:58 of the 4th round. Clavette knocked down the former toughman twice in a spirited affair between local products.
Featherweight Pier Olivier Cote (6-0 4KO) overwhelmed opponent Luis Acevedo (7-7 3KO) knocking down the Mexican four times on a way to a stoppage at 2:56 of the second round.