Peterson Stops Holt in 8th Round

Charles E. Sutton | 2/23/2013, 9:29 p.m.

Lamont Peterson entered the ring Friday night for the first time in 14 months and retained his junior welterweight title, stopping Kendall Holt in the eighth round. Peterson had not fought since testing positive for synthetic testosterone, which caused the cancellation of a scheduled rematch with Amir Khan set for last May.

Peterson, who had dropped Holt twice, hit him with a pair of right-handed shots. Peterson followed up with a flurry of blows while Holt leaned back against the ropes. Referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight at 1:42 in the round.

"The last time I caught him on the ropes, I just let my hands go and didn't stop," Peterson, 29, said. "I just couldn't let up."

Peterson's record improved to 31-1-1 with 16 knockouts. He defeated Amir Khan to capture the IBF and WBA 140-pound titles in December 2011, in front of a hometown crowd at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in the District of Columbia.

After the positive drug test, the WBA stripped Peterson of its title. But the IBF allowed him to retain its belt, indicating that an independent investigation affirmed the Peterson camp's claim that treatment for a medical condition led to the positive result. After the fight, Peterson talked about trying to reclaim the WBA belt, which along with the WBC belt is currently held by Danny Garcia.

"I would love to fight Danny Garcia," Peterson said. "I still think that I am the champ, the WBA champ, and I want to get the fight to make that happen."

Holt, 31, (28-6, 16 knockouts) dropped to 3-4 in his last seven fights, including 0-3 in title fights. He held the WBO 140-pound title for approximately nine months in 2008-09. He said it was difficult for him to make weight for the bout, and he was considering moving up to the 147-pound welterweight division after feeling tired Friday.

"I don't know if this weight class is for me anymore," Holt said. "My body just wasn't responding (during the fight). My body and my mind just weren't on the same page."

The fight started with Holt as the aggressor, and he appeared to hit Peterson early with a quick right hand. In the fourth round, Peterson sent Holt to the canvas for the first time, and Holt was backpedaling as the round ended. In the sixth, Peterson connected with a left hook and moved Holt onto the ropes, before landing a combination that dropped him for a second time.

As his right eye continued to swell, Holt managed to get through the sixth round and avoid any meaningful damage in the seventh, as the D.C Armory crowd chanted "Pete, Pete, Pete" and "DC! DC!" In the eighth, Peterson finished a tired Holt, as the crowd went wild.

"I spent a lot of energy there trying to get him out, but I just had to shut him down and let him come to me," Peterson said.