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Wiser Kendall Holt ready for another run

Kendall Holt won his world title in a wild 61-second shootout in 2008 against Ricardo Torres. (Photo by Juan Marshall)
21
Oct

He doesn’t hold his tongue, pretend that this is still a majestic love affair, that boxing is his be-all, end-all, and that he adores all elements of the process while trying to make another run to prominence and glory.

Kendall Holt of New Jersey is 35 years old and has been doing the pugilism thing for too many years to be starry eyed about boxing. He started at age 7, and that means this degree of familiarity breeds some contempt. “I started in 1988 with my father,” said Holt, in between training for a fight date next month. “And today I have love/hate relationship with boxing. Today, I woke up and hated it. But I still went to the gym. And then I signed my first fight, as a manager, and I got great work at the gym, so it was a great day. I’ve always had a love/hate with boxing.”

In other words, Holt is ADULTING. Riding the waves successfully mostly after at first rebelling at the thought of diving into the frigid ocean waters …

The hate side was winning after his last fight, in February 2013. He got stopped by then-IBF 140-pound champ Lamont Peterson in Round 8. “After, I was down on myself,” Holt said. His showing wasn’t his best, he explained, because he wasn’t suited for 140. “Taking off the last three pounds is like death!” he told me. “I was in and out of the sauna, the steam room, I couldn’t eat for a week, and then after the weigh-in you couldn’t gain over 10 pounds (per an IBF regulation). I was so dehydrated. I didn’t really understand hydration, either.” Holt went back to school after that, training in the medical field. Studying the function of the kidney and such now helps him comprehend how he can give his body the best chance to be at its best.

This isn’t the classic comeback, because Holt (28-6, 16 knockouts) has pretty much been in the gym since his last bout. He’d miss a week, two, but never a whole month, he reported. There were a couple false starts, promotional and managerial issues, hiccups. He’s been with Greg Cohen for a year and wants a stellar run at 147.

Holt scraps against TBD Nov. 11 in Iowa, and is on an ascent of optimism. He’s smartened up, and like most of us, needed to learn some lessons the hard way. He got charged with helping an associate who got busted for drug dealing to launder money and did 18 months of time after being popped in 2008 but has been out of trouble since, he maintains.

Wiser now, and young enough to make another run, the ex-WBO 140 titleholder says he’s aged well. “Age is just one thing, and I want people to remember this: I’m Kendall ‘Rated R’ Holt, I don’t lay down, I lay backs down!”

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