Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holt tops Hopkins to keep junior welterweight crown

By John McMullen

Atlantic City, NJ (The Phanatic Magazine) - When big time boxing last invaded Boardwalk Hall, Bernard Hopkins drank from the fountain of youth and pitched a virtual shutout against the highly-regarded Kelly Pavlik in a pay-per-view

It was a stunning upset for the 43-year-old B-Hop and vaulted the Philly native back to the top of the fight game.

Saturday night, another member of the family got a chance to electrify the fans in A.C. when Demetrius Hopkins, the 10th ranked WBO contender, attempted to wrest the WBO Junior Welterweight crown from champion Kendall Holt on SHOWTIME's ShowBox The Next Generation.

The bout was held in the Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall, an intimate site which seats about 1,000.

Hopkins (28-1-1) wasn't overwhelmed by his step-up in class, although Holt (25-3, 13 KOs) looked like the quicker fighter and pressed the action. Hopkins was able to counter with the jab at times but soon resorted to holding and clinching as the fight wore on.

Holt greeted Hopkins in Round 7 with a hard left hook that ignited the crowd. Hopkins showed a solid chin, however, and was able to regroup and finish the stanza rather strongly.

Hoping to fuel Hopkins, the crowd began changing "D-Hop" in the final round but, like his famous uncle, Hopkins seemed content to play defense and that's never the best game plan as a challenger.

Holt continued to set the pace and won a split decision, 116-112, 117-111, 113-115. The Phanatic Magazine scored the fight 117-111 for Holt.

Holt was originally set to defend his title in a rubber-match against former champion Ricardo Torres, but Torres became ill in training camp and announced he was unable to fight last Sunday. In stepped Demetrius, the nephew of B-Hop, who was already scheduled to fight on the card.

Holt originally won the title against Torres on July 5, 2008 in a short and brutal bout that lasted only sixty-one seconds. Holt was knocked down twice in the first thirty seconds but returned to his feet following the second knockdown and caught Torres moving in with a devastating overhand right to end things.

Torres, who suffered a concussion, took several minutes to get up before being whisked off to a local hospital for further tests. Holt also needed a trip to the hospital for stitches over his right eye.

Featured on the undercard Saturday was undefeated NABF junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman (27-0, 8 KOs) of Belarus defending his title against "Irish" James Moore (16-2, 10 KOs) from Wicklow, Ireland.

Moore, who is ranked No. 10 by the WBC and now fights out of Queens, brought along a ton of support but Foreman, who makes Brooklyn his home, had too much skill and remained unblemished. The veteran lacks punching power but has great defensive skills and superb conditioning. That was enough to earn him an easy unanimous decision, 99-90, 100-90 and 99-91, as Moore struggled with a blister on his toe.

In other action, super lightweight Omar Chavez (13-0-1, 10 KOs), the son of Julio Cesar Chavez, remained undefeated after torturing Brian Carden (6-7) with body blows for 1:50.

Russian Olympian, middleweight Matt Korobov, improved to 2-0 (2 KOs) as a professional when he disposed of Virginia Beach's Jason Wahr (1-2-2) at 2:52 of the first round. Korobov crushed Wahr with a devastating left hook to end things.

Meanwhile, Jersey City's Jorge Diaz remained perfect (7-0, 5 KOs) but went the distance with journeyman Saul Gutierrez of Mexico (6-14-2). Diaz won all three scorecards, 58-56, 60-54, 60-54.

The opener pitted Philly heavyweight Michael Rhodes against Alex Mejias of Puerto Rico. At 345 pounds, Rhodes (3-4-3) was grossly out of shape and played punching bag to Mejias (8-1, 3 KOs) until the Humacao native finally stopped him at 1:23 of Round 5.

In a super welterweight bout, Paterson, New Jersey's Glenn Tapia (1-0, 1 KO) stopped New York's Edward Smith (1-2) in his pro debut at 1:00 minute of the second round.

And, Atlantic City's own Qa'id Muhammad remained undefeated by stopping San Antonio's Julio Valadez at 2:18 of the third round in a super flyweight bout.

Muhammad (4-0, 4 KOs) was knocked down in Round 1 but it was more of a slip. He recovered to dominate the second stanza and opened a cut over Valadez' (3-2) right eye with an accidental head butt, before overwhelming him in the third.

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