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By Jake Donovan

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. A simple phrase and life lesson that nobody seems to take seriously until it happens to them.

It happened to Kendall Holt this past weekend in Colombia, as he claims to be the victim of a conspiracy, accentuated by a premature 11 th round stoppage against hometown favorite Ricardo Torres . The details are still being sorted out and those yet to view the fight are forced to meanwhile sift through a sea of he-said, she-said claims on what went down in Barranquilla. No disrespect to Holt, but while Shakira's hips don't lie, fighters and fight personalities do – all of the time.

BoxingScene's own Keith Idec provides stateside fans with the most unbiased perspective and closest possible view to the action, most of which confirms Holt's claims that the junior welterweight bout was fought under conditions more hostile than your average road trip. What can be confirmed for the moment is this:

- Holt was in control of the action throughout most of the bout before getting clipped with a fight-altering left hook in the 11 th round.

- Holt was in trouble, not just with what was in front of him, but also flying debris into the ring from the overly enthusiastic crowd.

- Referee Geno Rodriguez seriously erred on the side of caution, not necessarily that Hot was out on his feet (even if such was Geno's reason for stopping the fight when he did), but perhaps to rescue the Paterson, NJ native from a out-of-control crowd with severely limited security and law enforcement on hand to do anything about it.

The final point of confirmation is something everyone saw coming going into the fight: Holt traveling too light to foreign (and as it turned out, hostile) territory had controversy outcome written all over it.

In most cases, it's the promoter's job to do more to protect their fighter than merely to wait around for their 30% cut come check-cashing time. Instead, Duva, currently at odds with Holt over the terms of their promotional contract, left his fighter unprotected.

It began with a purse bid that allowed Torres' promoter (Billy Chams) to win with an offer so low, that Holt actually earned less than he did in the fight that earned him a shot at the alphabet title on stake last weekend. It ended with Holt and his lighter-than-usual team – his girlfriend being the only member outside of his cornermen on hand – fleeing from Salon Jumbo del Country Club, fearing for their lives and escaping with minor bruises and scrapes after watching Holt suffer the second defeat of his career.

Duva made no efforts to attend the bout, understandable considering that Holt claimed to be a free-agent, that their contract ended a month prior. What's less forgivable is Duva's requesting $13,575 from Holt's paltry $45,250 purse, while making no efforts to ensure that his fighter would receive the best treatment on the road. No assurance that he would receive fair play among the judges (and predictably, the Colombian judge was the only among the three to have Torres winning at the time of the stoppage in a bout most observers had Holt winning by a landslide). No attempt to win the purse bid or ensure that his fighter was sufficiently compensated for the biggest risk of his career.

History repeating itself, even if it's a first time victim.

Fellow East Coast-based 140 lb. contender " Vicious" Vivian Harris is no stranger to flying solo. He's doing just that in this week's fight against Junior Witter , which will take place in Witter's adopted hometown of Doncaster, England. With no stateside network covering the fight (much like Torres-Holt last weekend), Harris is left with minimal support, as Gary Shaw Productions will be represented by a skeleton crew, while fighting on Witter's home soil on a card presented by Witter's promoter, Hennessy Sports.

Oddly enough, history is on Harris' side in fighting under such conditions. His pair of unaccompanied road trips to Germany in 2004 resulted in victory on both occasions. In fact, it was on his then-promoter's (Main Events) show did Harris endure his last loss, a 7th round stoppage loss to Carlos Maussa in an intended showcase bout gone seriously awry.

It was Harris' last bout with Main Events, as he signed with Gary Shaw , a former stakeholder in Main Events, six months later, with all of his subsequent fights having come under the GSP banner. However, his last and upcoming paydays are coming on someone else's dime. His win over Juan Lazcano this past February came on an HBO card presented by Lazcano's promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, while Shaw was in Mississippi making his MMA promotional debut on Showtime. This weekend (Friday, September 7), Harris will be traveling light to England, while Shaw will once again be stateside (Santa Ynez, CA) and on Showtime on the same night.

Harris is obviously hoping for a repeat in his own past fortunes rather than a scenario more indicative of the road warrior trend recently experienced by Holt. Opponents of former super middleweight titlist Sven Ottke (Germany) often reported of unruly settings prior to their fights, ranging from lack of training facilities, to accommodations located in areas where construction work just happens to run 24/7 – and only during fight week.

Perhaps the worst injustice suffered by an Ottke opponent came in 2003 when UK-based Robin Reid was brought in under the perception of a name opponent on the slide. What Team Ottke didn't anticipate was a resurrected Reid looking to turn back the clock. What Reid didn't anticipate was fighting more than Ottke in the ring once the opening bell rang.

In one of the worst cases of officiating in recent history, Reid was docked a point in the sixth round and warned throughout the bout for the heinous crime of punching his opponent. A knockdown late in the bout was ignored, as was Reid's dominance over the course of twelve rounds by all three judges, neutral on paper (from Switzerland, Italy and United States) but just not on the kind that noted their ridiculous scorecards, all in favor of Ottke. The bout was investigated by the IBF, at the cost of $10,000 by Jess Harding, Reid's promoter, though Reid never received justice, or a rematch.

He would receive another opportunity two years later, when invited as the opponent of choice for then-unbeaten Jeff Lacy . The August 2005 bout took place in Lacy's hometown of Tampa, Florida. Naturally, Lacy was given a hometown reception fit for a king; Reid, on the other hand, was literally a man without a country.

Given the uncompetitive nature of the bout, there's no telling how much better Reid would have fared with better travel and lodging conditions. But unlike the Ottke fight, where he literally didn't have a fighting chance of winning no matter what transpired, on this occasion The Grim Reaper was presented with a grim outlook the moment he and his team signed on for the bout.

An international conference call was held in conflict with his training schedule, painting Reid as a man who thumbed his nose at the media and the paying public, when in fact the exact opposite is almost always the true makeup of the British boxer/model. Stateside accommodations for Reid and his team were reduced from suites at the Hyatt Regency and accessible training facilities to only a handful of rooms, sans sufficient resources for fight week preparation. They were given a room with a view – one overlooking Reid's makeshift on-site camp, which took place at the hotel's poolside. Last-minute roadwork consisted of waiting in line for the hotel workout facility's lone treadmill.

As bad as it may have seemed, Aussie-based junior welterweight Lovemore N'Dou was extended even less hospitality for his February 2004 bout in Atlantic City against Sharmba Mitchell , an assignment he accepted at the last minute. N'Dou's accommodations were literally reduced to the four walls of his hotel room, making the most of the limited space for pushup, sit-ups and shadowboxing. Predictably, he was extended as much courtesy on the scorecards, with a much-closer than expected fight (and in the eyes of many viewers at ringside and watching at home on Showtime, a close upset win for N'Dou) became a rout in the eyes of the judges.

To this day, people are still puzzled not so much at Germany's Felix Sturm's being robbed in his June 2004 bout with Oscar de la Hoya , but that all three judges had Oscar winning 115-113 in a bout that drew the exact opposite reaction from everyone else who watched the bout.

A lot was invested in the perceived Vegas tune-up. It was a cheap attempt to proclaim de la Hoya a "world" titlist in six different weight classes (which sadly still remains the case among far too many in the media and the industry in general), while hyping up a showdown with true middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins later that fall. In order to stage the bout, de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions was forced to offer mandatory challenger Kingsley Ikeke more than the usual step-aside fee. He received a 6-fight promotional contract with GBP, with individual paydays exceeding his career earnings as a whole, and promise of high-profile slots on de la Hoya's cards, whether Oscar fought or promoted them.

What wasn't produced in writing was the condition that Sturm was to willingly concede his alphabet title. Instead, Sturm showed up in top condition, whereas de la Hoya was an extremely fleshy 160 lb. Sturm's jab seemed to dominate the course of their 12-round bout, particularly the championship rounds, where Oscar was running on empty. The judges believed otherwise, with the final scores announced as if it were a formality, more so than what it was – a shock and a disgrace, even for Vegas.

Another middleweight from Deutschland was involved in a controversial twelve-round affair, only this time on the favorable end. In an oft-postponed battle of unbeaten middleweights, Puerto-Rican born, Colombian-bred Edison Miranda traveled to Germany to take on Arthur Abraham with dreams of coming home with his opponent's alphabet title in tow. Miranda and his team sensed conspiracy in the air as early as the weigh-in, claiming to have earlier stepped on and weighed within the middleweight limit on an IBF-calibrated scale, only to weigh in 3 ounces over the limit at the official limit. Miranda returned two hours later, five ounces lighter, and with claims of scale tampering levied against Abraham's promoter, Sauerland Events.

It didn't get any better on fight night. American-based referee Randy Neumann lost control of the brutal slugfest early, particularly in the fifth round when a headbutt that may or may not have been deliberate sent Abraham into a tailspin. Miranda was furious at the amount of time Abraham was given to recover, clocked at well over five minutes. It was widely reported that Abraham, whose jaw was severely broken, had all but quit, only for the referee and his corner to inform him that he would've lost by TKO had he gone that route.

Abraham had a change of heart, and fought the rest of the bout with a broken jaw – and according to Team Miranda, plenty of assistance from the referee, who docked five points in all from Miranda's tally. Further to Miranda's surprise, the point deductions proved to be a moot point, as Abraham would've still fared no worse than a majority decision winner.

Holt was in the lead on two of the three cards heading into the fateful and controversial 11 th round. Had Holt been given the chance to continue, the bout was still on the table, as he would've been up five points on one card, and down one on another. Instead, he is forced to fight outside the ring, as his team has lodged an official protest with the WBO. Even if he is successful and manages to secure a rematch, Holt still won't escape the court circuit, where he will inevitably square off against his estranged promoter, Dino Duva.

No matter what transpires in the next few weeks, Holt is still left to face the fact that he has a limited support team looking out for his best interests. It's a sad but true tale that has been repeated throughout boxing history. And one that continues to be ignored every time an unsuspecting fighter takes to the road in search of greater glory.


Vivian Harris apparently isn't very interested in suffering the same fight as Kendall Holt. Aware that the powers that be are attempting to stack the deck against him, Harris took a proactive approach to his pre-fight travel plans and accommodations.

The original arrangement called for Harris to fly into England Tuesday morning, just three days before the fight. Harris wanted at least a week, to give enough time to recover from jet lag and for last minute preparations for this weekend's bout. Promoter Gary Shaw, who "negotiated" the contract terms with Mick Hennessy, Witter's promoter and also who hosts the show, claimed that his hands were tied and that Harris was forced to accept whatever accommodations were made available.

Rather than make more out of the situation than necessary, Harris instead had his manager come up with a contingency plan, surprising all by departing from his Vegas training camp five days early, and instead arriving in the UK last Friday.

Hopefully, Harris' approach will be celebrated, and not met with a lawsuit for travel reimbursement.


A relatively respectful promotion regarding the Witter-Harris showdown has suddenly developed into a war of words – at least one way, anyway. Witter went out of his way to praise Harris during the entire promotion, claiming the bout to be the biggest challenge of his career – hence the tagline "Vicious Intentions."

Last week, Witter finally reverted to old form, looking past Harris and renewing his years-long obsession with Britian's more popular junior welterweight, Ricky Hatton . Witter claims that after he is through with Harris that the demand for "unification" (both hold alphabet titles, though Hatton is universally regarded as the true 140 lb. champ) will be too overwhelming for Hatton to ignore.

Most recently, a press release was sent out claiming that Witter has won the web war of words on Harris, going back to an alleged back-and-forth between the two through MySpace e-mails.

To his credit, Harris remains focused on the fight, only vowing to defeat Witter and bring his alphabet title back to the States. Harris, once infamous for mouthing off at anyone at or near the 140 lb. division, took a similar approach to a scheduled bout last July with Mike Arnaoutis, who's boisterous manager Mike Michael took repeated shots at the Guyanese transplant.

The end result: Arnaoutis forced to withdraw from the bout three weeks prior due to a nick suffered in sparring.


ESPN2's Friday Night Fight series concludes this Friday in the same place where its 2007 campaign began – Biloxi, MS. The season kicked off with the first fight card to be staged in Biloxi since Hurrican Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast two summers ago. Anthony and Lamont Peterson were showcased in co-main event bouts that evening.

This Friday, Lamont Peterson returns to the scene, this time as the chief support to comebacking former undisputed welterweight king Zab Judah . Both are in showcase-type bouts against Puerto Rican journeyman. Peterson squares off against Frankie Santos, whose 15-3-3 record is overshadowed by the fact that he hasn't won since 2002, and with all of his wins coming against pedestrian opposition.

Meanwhile, Judah's main event bout comes against the more credible Edwin Vazquez , who is coming off of a close points loss to Matthew Hatton, Ricky Hatton's younger brother. Judah of course is coming off of a 10th round stoppage loss to Miguel Cotto, his third loss in his past four bouts, and still in search of his first win since stopping Cosme Rivera in the 3 rd round of their May 2005 bout.

A quick aside – who would've ever thought we'd see the day where Judah, who had appeared in multiple HBO, Showtime and PPV main events and co-features over the course of his career, would appear on FNF for the second time in five months, and still be in search of his first win of the year. His previous appearance was in April, where his bout with Ruben Galvan lasted all of 71 seconds before ending in a no-contest when Galvan suffered a deep gash on his head, which was ruled as the result of an inadvertent elbow.
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