“Pulsating.” Yes, that’s it. That’s the best single word I’ve read to describe our 2008 Round of the Year, the 1st round of the rematch between junior welterweights (140 lbs.) Kendall Holt and Ricardo Torres in July. Using more words, a commentator for the international broadcast said: “That was one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever seen in boxing.” Same here.
There were plenty of other great rounds in 2008, and four of our five nominees featured the kind of twist of fortune that marked Holt-Torres II, where one boxer rebounded from great difficulty to storm back into the fight. (The fifth nominee, the 12th round of Lucian Bute-Librado Andrade [168 lbs.] made the list not because of back and forth action, but because Andrade spent the whole fight on the outs before seemingly scoring a last-second knockout, only to see the controversial call of a referee and/or Bute’s considerable willpower save the day for the Canadian.)
But none of the other nominees come close to the sheer scope of the turnaround in the 1st round of Holt-Torres II. In less than a minute, Holt survived two very hard knockdowns only to knock Torres out cold and pull out the win. There were fireworks befitting a fight that transpired the weekend of July 4. Was there a dose of controversy? Oh yes. A couple doses, actually, but they only made the round that much more interesting. There was the punch Torres landed on Holt as he stood back up after the second knockdown and before the referee could get between the two men, and there was a head butt, apparently unintentional, that put Holt in position to connect with his chilling knockout blow.
In fact, it may have been the Knockout of the Year. But we’ll save the other nominees for later Monday evening, followed Tuesday by the award itself.