Kendall Holt: 'I don't back down, I lay backs down'

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
10:09
AM ET
New Jersey's Kendall Holt has had a hard time shoving the past behind him, as he continually allows old habits and temptations to seize him and get him off track.

In April 2009, the 30-year-old junior welterweight -- who gloves up against young gun Danny Garcia as part of the Hopkins-Dawson undercard on Saturday in L.A. -- pled guilty to money laundering. The Paterson resident admitted that in 2007 and 2008 he picked up bags of money he knew came from drug transactions and delivered them to his then-manager, Henry Cortes.

Holt's plea bargain kept him out of prison. At that time, he released a statement, which read in part: I had no part in my former manager’s activities in this regard, and it is not alleged that I did. Further, I never profited from the crime with which I was charged, nor is it alleged that I did. I succumbed to the request of my former manager to transport money, with no gain to me at all. Sometimes in life people are asked to do things which they should decline to do. I should have declined but did not. I am truly sorry for that, and count this among life’s lessons. I intend to move on and put this matter behind me. I do not intend to answer any questions about this incident as I believe that this statement covers all that is necessary and must go forward rather than back.

Seemingly, he has kept his nose clean since, and is on a two-fight win streak, after beating solid vet Julio Diaz on May 13 (TKO3). Holt, when on his game, has above-average hand speed and power in both hands. Garcia needs to keep track of Holt's left hook, which can and has re-arranged brain cells. Is Holt looking for the KO on Saturday's pay-per-view card?

"I always want to knock someone out," he said. "I guess I'm predicting a knockout."

Holt and his crew seem confident that he will prevail. A couple of Holt's buddies brought up an after-party, so I asked about that.

"A couple friends of mine from the Dallas Mavericks called me about it, so I'm going to set up a party," he said. A sign of certainty? Or the foolish planning of an athlete too-cocky by far? We shall see.

And if Holt takes down Garcia, Golden Boy's future star?

"I want Timothy Bradley, immediately," he said. "We have unfinished business. (They fought in April 2009, and Holt lost a UD, despite knocking Bradley down in rounds 1 and 12.) It's possible he's holding out for the big fight, for a Pacquiao. If that fight comes, and it passes, there's life after that fight, and I'll still be there wanting that fight."

Holt finishes with a proclamation that boils down his ring persona, and would make for a fine T-shirt: "I don't back down, I lay backs down."

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Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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