Holt (28-5, 16 KOs), 31, of Paterson, N.J., is just 3-3 in his past six fights, including the loss to Bradley and defeats by sixth-round knockout against Kaizer Mabuza, in a dreadful performance in a title elimination bout, and by decision to Garcia. But Holt also knocked out former lightweight titlist Julio Diaz in spectacular fashion and scored four knockdowns en route to a second-round knockout of Tim Coleman in his most recent fight 11 months ago.
Holt's lengthy layoff was prompted, in part, by surgery on his right shoulder which has given him problems for years. The surgery was performed by Dr. Steven Stoller. Holt said that it now feels as good as it has in a long time.
Holt had surgery in August and admits that the shoulder still isn't 100 percent, but added that it's "well enough and strong enough where I feel like I can compete. It's not hurting. I haven't had any unbearable pain. It's still sore, but I don't remember going into a fight 100 percent anyway." When he fights Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), 29, Holt will do so knowing that nobody in Washington is going to do him any favors. He knows that Peterson won his title 14 months ago at home, via controversial split decision against Amir Khan.
[Photo: Kendall Holt's recent lull began with a 2009 points loss to Timothy Bradley Jr., but Holt still has shown flashes despite being hampered by a shoulder injury. AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz]