Since his last loss, Kendall Holt, of Paterson, N.J., has had two fights, and the hard-hitting junior welterweight scored knockouts before the fourth round in both bouts.
The up-and-down nature of his recent career is a reflection of the 30-year-old's style inside the ring.
He twice rose from the canvas to score a first-round stoppage of Ricardo Torres in July of 2008 to take the WBO belt, and in the process avenged an 11th-round knockout loss suffered in September of 2007.
Then, in April of 2009, Holt lost the title by unanimous decision to Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 knockouts), who himself got up from two knockdowns to score the eventual win.
In his next fight, Holt sat in the corner as his trainer called an end to a battle with Kaizer Mabuza after absorbing six rounds of tough body shots.
To Holt (27-4, 15 KOs), those experiences make him a battle-tested veteran and give him confidence going into his WBC and IBF title-elimination bout against undefeated contender Danny Garcia on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson pay-per-view event on Oct. 15.
"I’m excited," said Holt, "I'm going to prove to the world that I’m still the same Kendall Holt that I was when I won the world title."
But to Garcia (21-0, 14 KOs), a 23-year-old boxer-puncher from Philadelphia, Holt is simply an old fighter with a name who is past his prime and ready to be taken down.
"I watched Kendall Holt's last fight, and I said to my dad, 'I am going to fight the winner of this fight.' So I feel like I predicted my future a little bit," said Garcia, who is coming off of a unanimous decision in April over former unified lightweight titleholder Nate Campbell.
"Holt isn’t going to touch me like he did to his last opponent. You can’t hit what you can’t see. I’m young. I’m fast. I’m strong. I’m hungry and come Oct. 15, I’m going to show the world. I’m going to knock Kendall Holt out."
Asked what, if anything, Garcia brings new to the table as an opponent, Holt said, "nothing."
"I look at it as he’s never been on this level before, so he’s saying what he’s heard other people saying. He’s trying to get everyone to believe in him. He’s just trying to get all that energy up to make," said Holt.
"I don’t know what he’s trying to do, but I don’t think he believes he’s going to knock me out. He’s basically saying that to get himself excited, get his confidence up. On Oct. 15, he’s going to realize that it’s different watching great whites on TV opposed to being in the ocean with them."
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com