“I plan to be around for a long time”
This Friday night, Patterson, New Jersey native Kendall “Rated-R” Holt 17-1 (11 Kos) will attempt to take his career to the next level when he takes on undefeated 1996 U.S. Olympian David Diaz (Boxingtalk #14 at junior welterweight) at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantaucket, Connecticut. The twelve-round bout will serve as the main event of ShowTime’s ShoBox series. After returning from training camp in Vero Beach, Florida, the 23 year old Holt, 23, spoke to Boxingtalk. During the interview, Holt spoke about a phone call that he recently received from Paul Malignaggi.
RC: What’s going in Kendall, how are you feeling?
KH: I am feeling good. RC: Did you do anything different in preparation in this the most important fight of your career?
KH: Yeah, every training session was longer, everything was more detail as far as every strategy we went over. We got to watch tapes of this opponent finally, and come up with a plan. The plans haven’t really been different from any other fight, but the only thing that made this one a little difference in the strategy planning, is that he is a southpaw. So training went a little different, but besides that everything was good. RC: Where did you hold your camp for this fight?
KH: I was in Vero Beach down in FloridaRC: Was that the first time you have been down there? What made you pick Vero Beach?
KH: Vero Beach because it is warm down there, and I didn’t have to worry about being cold, I could just go for it down there. That is where Buddy McGirt’s gym is at, I trained there for a little bit, but I was basically training at the “House of Champions”. I was going to go to Lou Duva camp in the Pocono’s, but we decided to get away from New Jersey, we wanted to get as far away as we could, I didn’t want to get a little home sick and take a 45 minute drive back to Patterson. So we went all the way to Florida.RC: Give us your thoughts on your opponent David Diaz as a fighter?
KH: To me David Diaz is a good fighter, he never gives up. He is always in supreme condition to go the full distance, and overall to me he is a good fighter. The only difference with me and him matching up, is that my style actual beats his style. As long as I box and stay focus, I don’t see him beating me. RC: He tends to gets inside of his opponents head, are you prepared to deal with that?
KH: Yeah, man I am prepared for everything. I sparred with a 160lbs fighter from England when I was in camp, and the first time I sparred him got me out of my game plan, but then when I sparred him a coupe days later, we were prepared for what he was going to do, and we stayed with the game plan and we did real god.RC: Who else did you use for sparring out there?
KH: Maxell Taylor [9-1(2 KOs)], he is actually on the under card, the non televised portion, he is from Baltimore and is a 154lbs; he was my primary sparring partner. There was a guy from England, Mike a 160 pound fighter and another guy from down there from Vero Beach, his name is Tom. But most of the time, it was Maxell Taylor. RC: Other than not being distracted from being close to home, in what other ways do you feel you benefited from going all the way to Florida for camp?
KH: With no distractions I was more focused on training. I was in a hotel, I couldn’t go anywhere because I didn’t know of anywhere to go, I didn’t know anybody around there, so basically I was just down there focused on training and watching boxing tapes. I was just down there around a lot of boxing people; Mike Tyson was down there, my man Stevie Johnston so it was a lot about boxing down there. So if I wanted to stray away from boxing I couldn’t do that because I was surrounded by so much boxing. Camp was real good though, the main thing was to be able to be focused for a long period of time, and that is what I did, I stayed focus the whole time I was down there.RC: What is your main motivation going into this fight?
KH: That this fight can put me where I always wanted to be, and that is on top. I always wanted all eyes on me, if I beat Diaz, then all eyes will be on me, and that is what I want. I want everybody to pay attention to Kendall Holt, because I plan to be around for a long time. I am in this for the long haul. RC: Since suffering your first loss of your career, early on in your career at that, do you feel as if this is a do or die situation for you Friday night?
KH: I think God forbid I do loose, the performance will tell everything, because just like in my first loss, I was winning. I was dominating and ultimately I ended up loosing, but I didn’t feel as if people were writing me off. I feel as if I give 100% and put on a damn good show, I won’t be written off. RC: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
KH: Yeah, I am going to be around because Holt is King inside of the ropes. RC: How about to your fans out there and people that will be tuning in?
KH: I want to thank Paul Malignaggi for calling me and giving me some advice.RC: What did he call and say to you?
KH: Paulie called me and just reminded me to box, and reminded me that the thing that is going to get me over in this fight is to box. He also reminded me that if I lost sight of that, to then try my hardest to remember two words, and that is “Smart Boxing”. And he also said once I get that back in my head, everything will come back together and I should pretty much cruise to an easy victory. RC: How does that make you feel coming from somebody who at one point, you were going back and forth with, in a war of words?
KH: You know that is part of the game, to hype yourself up, and hype up a fight. I wasn’t in the spotlight like he was. So in order to be the best, you have to beat the best that is why I challenged him. He was being portrayed as one of the best, and he is one of the best prospects turning contenders on their way up, and I wanted that spotlight. I wanted people to view me in the same light, so I you know I had to issue challenges to him. He was closer than anybody else that I could get too, since we fought on the same card at the Garden, and he is obviously talented and he obviously gets a lot of press. But it feels good, that even though that happened, we are still cool. We have seen each other a couple times and we both know it was just business, it was nothing personal and I appreciate him taking the time out to call me and giving me a little advice.RC: What can we expect from Kendall Holt on Friday night?
KH: You would have to expect to see blazing hand speed, and some real smooth foot movement. A lot of slipping punches, you know people say that jabs don’t work against Southpaws, but I think m jab is going to work against Diaz for the simple fact that his lead right hand is always down and I do have a fast jab. I am going to show the world, a lot of times I don’t use my jab because I get bored, and I tend to start to fight .But this time I am going to stick to the game plan and stay focused, pop the jab and let everything come off of the jab and keep moving.
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