I have to admit that I am having a bit of an emotional letdown in light of the recent announcement that the much anticipated rubber match between Kendall Holt and Ricardo Torres was called off due to Torres coming down with an illness. The previous two fights of this burgeoning rivalry were filled with enough drama and questionable moves to fill a whole years worth of boxing matches. Torres pulling out is a huge letdown to fight fans the world over.
But credit should be given to Showtime and Top Rank for salvaging the card bringing in Demetrius Hopkins to as a last minute substitute. While clearing lacking the luster it once enjoyed, Holt-Hopkins does present a decent scrap in itself.
Make no mistake about it Holt is the name opponent here. A rare athletic talent, Holt is blessed with some physical gifts that many a fighter would die for. Blazing fast hands, decent pop, sound defense, Holt has the tools to really run away with the junior welterweight division. Unfortunately for fans, at times he fights in such an inconsistent manner that it drives you nuts. Obviously the name of the game is to hit and not be hit, but there are times where it appears that Holt wants no part of pain. But in recent outings, most notably his scintillating first round knockout of Torres this past July, Holt has show the brilliance that had many believing him to be a future superstar in the sport. But Holt has an Achilles Heel in his less than sturdy chin; both of Holt’s losses came by way of stoppage. I’ve seen Holt buzzed on occasion and it’s unclear on just how well he will fair among the upper echelon fighters in the division.
Hopkins enjoys a certain level of celebrity being the nephew of Bernard Hopkins. But while Uncle Hopkins is an all-time great, young Demetrius has not shown the style or sustenance of his famous relative. In fact there is not much that I can really say about Hopkins. Fundamentally he’s solid, good technique, ok power and a pretty solid chin. I’m not too impressed with him but I don’t thing he isn’t a solid young prospect.
Prediction: I don’t see this one matching the action or intrigue of a Holt-Torres fight but it will be competitive. Both fighters are decent boxers but the result could be a drawn out contest with each fighter doing more posing than punching. I see Holt walking away with a twelve round unanimous decision in pretty convincing fashion. Hopkins will be game but I think Holt’s edge in athletic talent will carry him to victory.
Confidence: 75%. This being boxing, anything can happen. Can Holt mentally be prepared to fight substitute opponent? There is history and a little bad blood between Holt and Torres. How will the late switch affect the game plan Holt has had in place since signing on to fight Torres? Holt has been known to get flustered and allow his opponents to out work him in long stretches. If Hopkins can get into a rhythm early and find ways to nullify Holt’s speed, then I can see him springing the upset. Also, something to be considered is that Hopkins can crack a little bit and Holt’s chin is not cast of iron, so a well placed shot could spell an early end to the fight with Hopkins hand raised in victory. With that being said, I still see a maturing Holt winning this one.
Allegiance: To neither fighter. I have never been that big of a fan of Holt or Hopkins. I think they are two solid fighters but neither do anything to tickle my fancy. All I’m hoping for is a good scrap on Saturday night.