Kendall Holt had Roy Jones Jr. in his corner for his Friday Night Fights main event against Tim Coleman in Cabazon, Calif., on Friday, and the former junior welterweight titleholder put on a power punching display that made the future hall of famer proud.
In fact, Holt (28-5, 16 knockouts) sort of resembled a 140-pound version of the prime Roy Jones as he dropped Coleman four times en route to dispatching the Baltimore native in the second round of a crossroads bout.
Holt, of Paterson, N.J., was in control from the opening bell. The 30-year-old veteran, who knocked Coleman off balance with a right hand early in the first round, dropped the 27-year-old fringe contender with a counter left hook to the body 10 seconds before the bell.
Coleman (19-3-1, 5 KOs), who was caught – and visibly hurt – while throwing a lazy lead right hand, got up and survived the round but did not seem to want to be in the ring going forward. He was knocked down about a minute into the second round after absorbing a partially blocked hook. He took a knee soon after taking a partially blocked hook and a grazing left to the body.
Coleman’s corner threw in the towel after their fighter went down a fourth time from punches that appeared to hit more glove than flesh. Referee Ray Corona waved the bout off at 2:23 of the round.
It was a must-win fight for both fighters, who were defeated by undefeated young prospects in their last bouts. Holt dropped a split-decision to Danny Garcia last October. Coleman suffered a seventh-round TKO to Vernon Paris in an ESPN2-televised bout last August.
Holt kept his career alive with the strong showing. Coleman, who said he didn’t take Paris seriously, must now contemplate whether to continue risking his health in the most dangerous of professional sports.
In the co-featured bout of the ESPN2 broadcast, featherweight prospect Abraham Lopez scored an undeserved unanimous decision over Gabriel Tolmajyan, who came in a few pounds heavy for the eight rounder and used the extra weight – along with his quirky southpaw style – to trouble the undefeated favorite.
Lopez (17-0, 12 KOs), of La Puente, Calif., won the bout by scores of 79-3 and 78-74 (twice), but it was Tolmajyan (12-2-1, 3 KOs), of Glendale, Calif., by way of Armenia, who controlled the distance with his jab and lateral movement during the first five rounds.
Tolmajyan’s jab raised a small mouse under Lopez’s left eye and helped set up overhand lefts that occasionally backed the more orthodox boxer up. However, Lopez stepped up his pressure and aggression beginning with the sixth round. He stalked and threw more punches than Tolmajyan in rounds seven and eight, but it appeared to be too little too late to most observers, including ESPN2’s Teddy Atlas, who scored the bout 77-75 for Tolmajyan.