On Friday night, two talented but desperate light welterweights will battle it out in an effort to restore promise to their impeded careers. IBF light welterweight champion Lamont "Havoc" Peterson (30-1, 15 KO) will defend his title against Kendall "Rated R" Holt (28-5, 16 KO).
The winner of this bout will be on track for a major payday, and they will dramatically improve their perception in the world of boxing.
This should be an exciting and closely contested fight. Here's how you can watch it along with some deeper analysis into the fighters and the matchup itself.
Where: DC Armory, Washington, D.C.
When: Friday, Feb. 22, 9 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
The Book on Peterson
Peterson won his last fight by upsetting Amir Khan by way of split decision. The win gave Peterson the IBF and WBA Super light welterweight titles. It was the biggest win of his career, but the momentum he built by winning this fight was soon diminished.
Peterson failed a pre-fight drug test for the rematch, and this obviously called into question how legit his performance was in the first fight with Khan. Now, Peterson needs redemption, and if he strings together victories and clean pre-fight drug tests, he'll get it.
If there is one thing boxing fans have, it is a short memory. Winning helps clear the minds of fans in respect to past failures.
He has surely lost a sizable amount of money because of his failed drug tests. Per The Washington Post, Peterson's guaranteed purse for the Khan rematch was $1.5 million, while his guaranteed takeaway from this bout with Holt is just $37,500.
But at least he's fighting again. I know people that aren't making $37,500 per year at their jobs, and it seems like Peterson realizes that he's still in a good space.
In the Ring
Havoc is a grinder without exceptional power. He barrels ahead constantly, and is usually in excellent physical condition. He wears his opponents down by not allowing them ample space to operate.
This style helps to hide what Peterson lacks in physical ability.
His exceptional desire and chin are his greatest attributes, and those qualities played a major role in lifting Peterson to the upset win over Khan.
That fight also took place in D.C., and Peterson was seemingly energized by the hometown crowd. The same elements will be present for this one.
The Book on Holt
Holt Trying To Regain Spot Amongst Elite Fighters At 140 Pounds
Holt hasn't had the types of issues that Peterson has, but his career has had its ups and downs in the last three years.
He rebounded from a disappointing split-decision loss to current WBC and WBA Super light welterweight champion Danny Garcia in October 2011. In his next and most recent fight, Holt scored a second-round KO win over Tim Coleman in March 2012.
He was once a very highly-regarded young prospect, but he's dropped three of his last six fights, and his career is beginning to look like that of a fighter that just can't get over the hump. At 31 years old, he is no longer an up-and-coming fighter.
He needs a win over an elite fighter, and Peterson holds a championship in the weight class.
That makes this the most important fight of Holt's career.
For more insight, take a look at this entertaining interview with Holt and one of his sparring partners, future Hall of Famer Shane Moseley:
In the Ring
Holt is the more powerful puncher, and he has an edge in hand speed. He will readily exchange, but this has been his downfall in past fights.
Though he's puncher, a strong counter-puncher will always give Holt a problem.
His defense can be careless, and he can fall in love with himself as a banger. Against weaker competition, his physical gifts generally carry him. His last fight against Coleman was an example of that concept.
When faced with upper-echelon opponents, he has been failed by less-than ideal defensive technique and discipline.
Title Bout Championship Boxing Prediction
Out of the Park Develoments produced perhaps the most comprehensive boxing simulation game ever made. The second version of the game was originally created in 2004, and it was updated in 2008.
The database still pulls data on real boxers from Boxrec.com. The game is a text-sim, so you aren't actually watching the fighters compete in the ring, or controlling them.
You simply select the fighters that you want to compete from the massive database of active and retired fighters, select their career stage (pre-prime, prime, post-prime, etc), the venue, championship status, hometown favorite (if applicable), and other specifics for authenticity.
The results are always at least plausible and interesting to see.
I simulated the Holt-Peterson matchup 10 times to see who the game would favor as the winner, and the results surprised me a bit.
Holt was the winner six times out of 10 simulations, In three of those six wins, Holt won by TKO/KO. Two of the stoppages came in the 10th round or later.
Peterson won three of the 10 simulations, with only one coming by way of KO, and that was a third-round stoppage due to a bad cut.
The 10th simulation rendered a draw.
Taking a look at the statistics, the fights were action-packed and featured a good number of fouls and warnings from the referee. A total of 29 warnings were issued in the 10 fight simulations.
You can see from the above screenshots that the statistics provided offer great detail.
Which prediction will be closer to the real result?
Now that we've seen who the simulation favors, I'll give my prediction. Although Holt is the more talented fighter, Peterson's determination, chin and hometown advantage can't be overlooked.
Holt will not be given the space to operate and utilize his speed advantage.
For Peterson, this matchup is somewhat similar to the fight with Khan—only Khan is even more gifted than Holt.
Peterson's counter-punching ability, and his excellent conditioning will be a major factor. I think he grinds out a hard-fought and close decision victory.
We'll see if man or machine is correct on Friday night.