By Gary Digital Williams and Julian Burgower at ringside
Photos: Mike Greenhill
IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Lamont Peterson laid several issues to rest last night before a supportive hometown crowd at the Washington, DC Armory.
First, Peterson alleviated any concerns from DC fight followers of the extended 14-month layoff since his crowning affair Jin dethroning Amir Khan. Second was Peterson’s ability to revive his career after the oft-talked about positive test results for synthetic testosterone. Some would also mention the arguably controversial point deductions or the mysterious “man in the hat” incident following the Khan fight.
Peterson, though, laid to rest the most important obstacle of all- Kendall Holt.
The main event began at a slow pace, with the first two rounds fairly even with the exception of a series of Holt right hands that edged the momentum in the challengers favor. Holt, 140lbs, connected with several body shots in the second, ending the combinations with a right to the head. Peterson sustained a small but noticeable mouse beside his left eye at rounds close.
Holt’s continued success in the third gave him a false sense of security as he opened up more aggressively in the fourth. The former WBO junior welterweight title holder teed off on the champion, slamming hard shots onto Peterson’s midsection and head. Peterson upped the ante and caught the Patterson, NJ native flush with a right hook that sent him to the canvas. Holt was able to rise and survive the round as the bell rang with Peterson connecting with several additional power shots. Holt staggered into his own corner.
The remainder of the fight belonged to the champion. Peterson’s slow start became a distant memory as he continued to batter Holt through round five and scoring another knockdown in the sixth. Holt grew visibly tired and was warned by referee Tony Weeks for excessive holding.
The end came in round eight, with Peterson landing vicious shots at his own bidding. Wrangling a retreating Holt into the ropes, Peterson unleashed a volley of unanswered havoc, snapping Holt’s head back again and again. Referee Tony Weeks saved the day, as Holt became the 16th professional fighter to be knocked out by the hometown champion.
Peterson, 31-1-1 (16), is next looking to unify the remaining major junior welterweight titles, including the WBA, which stripped Lamont of their belt following the positive drug test in 2011. Holt, who drops to 28-6 (16), has probably seen the last of the junior welterweight division, having had difficulty making the 140lb weight limit.
The co-main event featured two California-based super bantamweights both sporting undefeated records in an evenly matched eight-round contest.
The fight was closely contested through the first four rounds, with both Roman Morales, of San Ardo, CA and Jesus Hernandez, of Huntington Park, CA, having their moments. Late in the fifth round, Morales sunk a brutal left hook into Hernandez’s body that immediately dropped Hernandez to both knees. Hernandez was unable to recover and Morales recorded the knockout victory with just one second to spare in the round. Morales improves to 15-0 (8) as Hernandez suffers his first defeat at 10-1-3 (2).
In a minor upset in the cruiserweight division, formerly undefeated Venroy July was stopped by Elvin Sanchez in the third round. July, fighting out of Suitland, MD by way of St. Catherine, Jamaica, seemed to be on his way to a workman-like victory with a controlling right jab. Sanchez went down in the second from a hard July right but was able to recover by the end of the round. In the third, July was wobbled against the ropes and eventually dropped. July was able to beat the count but after taking a very close look at the dazed fighter, referee Malik Waleed wisely waved the contest at 2:55. Sanchez, of Patterson, NJ, improves to 6-2-1 (4) as July drops to 13-1-2 (6).
DC welterweight David “Day-Day” Grayton scored a second-round knockout over Greg Coverson, Jr. of Detroit, MI. Grayton battered Coverson all over the ring before the bout was stopped at 2:59 of the second. Grayton is 3-0 (3) while Coverson is 3-5, (1).
DC super middleweight Dominic Wade made a successful return after a more than two-year absence and scored a second-round knockout of Marcus Brooks of Atlanta, GA. Wade stopped his opponent at 2:46 of the second round. Wade remains undefeated at 12-0 (7), while Brooks falls to 7-12.
DC heavyweight Danny “Smooth” Kelly scored a crushing first-round knockout over Schyuler Marshall of South Carolina.
Kelly went to Marshall’s relatively soft belly before coming up with a straight right hand that sent Marshall backwards and down for the count at 2:11. Kelly is 3-0 (3) while Marshall is 1-3.
Baltimore, MD featherweight Gervonta “Rambo” Davis made a successful pro debut with a first-round TKO over Desi Williams of Wilson, NC. Davis scored the knockout at 1:29 of the first. Williams is 0-5.
In the opening contest of the night, featherweight Raul Lopez of Bronx, NY won a six-round unanimous decision over DeWayne Wisdom of Indianapolis, IN. Scores were 59-55 (twice) and 58-56. Lopez is 9-1-1, (4), while Wisdom falls to 2-10 (1).
Notable figures in the crowd tonight were former heavyweight champion Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe, WBC lightweight champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner, former welterweight contender Derrell “Too Sweet” Coley, former WBA middleweight champion Keith Holmes, junior welterweight Anthony Peterson, Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Plaxico Burress and Hall of Famer Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson.