Timothy Bradley And Kendall Holt Frustrate For Different Reasons, But Bradley Gets The Win

Timothy Bradley ticked me off with his dirty fighting. Kendall Holt ticked me off with how he lost his composure and didn’t work hard enough. But of the two junior welterweight titlists, Bradley will leave Canada with the two belts after a Saturday night Showtime fight.

Neither man was the real champion of the division — that’s Ring champ Ricky Hatton. But they were fighting with hopes of winning a shot at that kind of fighter, the kind that would bring them megabucks.

I missed the first two rounds, afraid to switch over after finishing the “Lightweight Lightning” pay-per-view show for fear of finding out the results of the fight. But a friend of the site, Mr. Schraub, informed me the bout had just began, so I flipped over to it. I’ll watch the 1:30 a.m. showing to catch the super middleweight bout between Librado Andrade and Vitali Tsypko and the first two rounds, then update this entry later.

Holt, though, clearly won the 1st round 10-8 because of his huge knockdown of Bradley, which Showtime replayed multiple times. It was an awesome left hand he landed, one that looked like it had Bradley’s eyes rolling into the back of his head and deposited him straight on his back. He popped up, found out his legs were shaky, then cleverly took a knee. It was one of several clever things Bradley did throughout the fight. And he got up from the knee better for having not tried to stay on his feet right away.

Mr. Schraub told me the 2nd round was close; Showtime’s Al Bernstein liked Bradley in that round. By the 3rd, Bradley was outworking Holt significantly, particularly to the body. I gave him every round through the 8th. Bradley also was head butting Holt and hitting him low. I understand Bradley is shorter than Holt and has to get low to get on the inside, but the sheer number of head butts and low blows Bradley delivered cannot have been a mere coincidence. It was frustrating stuff. No fighter gets on my bad side quicker than fighting dirty. But it threw Holt off his game, so, more clever points for Bradley.

I think the ref should have been sterner with Bradley for his transgressions, but that doesn’t absolve Holt for getting so flustered. When he jabbed Bradley, he owned him. When he went forward, he owned him. I assumed that for this fight, Holt would keep his focus, knowing how important it was, and I was wrong to assume that, in retrospect. Instead, he backed up for no reason that I could see with my eyes, and abandoned his jab just as fruitlessly. He finally came close to matching Bradley’s work rate in the 9th and 10th, and combined with him landing the harder punches, I gave Holt those two rounds. Bradley upped the dirty fighting a notch in the 10th, at one point spinning Holt around and hitting him on the back of the head and the back, even. I think Bradley should have probably been docked a point for this, but that ref was determined to let Bradley fight how he wanted.

I should say that it wasn’t just Bradley’s dirty tactics that caused Holt problems. In the 11th, he showed a kind of doggedness that would frustrate anyone. In one sequence, Holt ducked a Bradley punch, ran away from another, and tied up to avoid another. Bradley never stopped coming. If there was one thing Bradley did in this fight that impressed me, it’s the determination he showed. Holt went into the 12th with his corner asking him for the round of his life. He didn’t quite deliver it, but he did put Bradley down with a counter that gave him a 10-8 round.

Assuming the 2nd round to Bradley, I had it 114-112 for Bradley. So did one of the judges, and the other two had it 115-111 for him. But two of the ringside media scorers had it 113-113, and another had it 114-112 for Holt. That 2nd round will therefore be key to my own final scorecard. But in the category of “what’s next” for both men, it’s the judges’ scorecards that matter most. Bradley goes forward better off than Holt for winning, although I doubt Bradley made himself a ton of fans with his awkward, rough-housing style. I could be wrong — a lot of the boxing media is higher on Bradley than I am. I just don’t see him getting a Hatton-level opponent any time soon. As for Holt, this fight was his career in a microcosm: flashes of brilliance, surrounded by stretches of underperforming. If he doesn’t get his head together soon, I wonder if he’ll be looking back at his career as an old man wondering what might have been. In the short-term, he wants a rematch with Bradley. If Bradley doesn’t get a megabucks fight, it’s the best bout out there for either man that I can think of.


Yup, catching up to the early part of the card, I gave the 2nd to Holt. I see the argument for Bradley, but the argument for Holt — who landed the harder punches — is better in my mind. That means I scored the fight a draw.

As for Andrade-Tsypko, it was as enjoyable a one-sided fight on the scorecards as you’ll see. Andrade won the way he always does, which is by coming forward, ignoring all incoming punches, and outworking his opponent. He has good pop, too, which is how he dropped Tsypko in the 2nd and 7th. The last two rounds were crowd-pleasing work, with rousing exchanges throughout. Tsypko may have lost widely on the scorecards, but he earned my respect by staying on his feet in the 12th amid a withering Andrade attack then returning fire with his own clean, hard punches. If Andrade has another dramatic 12th round, we might just have to name the 12th round permanently for all of boxing “the Andrade round.”

Those Canadian fans may be the classiest boxing fans the sport has. Andrade almost ruined one of their favorites, Lucian Bute, in the last 12th round he was in, but Canada doesn’t hold it against him. That the country has adopted Andrade like he was one of their own brings a smile to my face. It helps that Andrade is probably the most likable fighter in the whole sport, both inside the ring and out. Bute himself, sitting ringside, couldn’t help but smile at Andrade’s performance. Bute gave him a thumbs up, and Andrade, now the mandatory challenger for Bute’s title belt, acknowledged him respectfully. As much as I enjoy boxing for the big moments of drama and explosive action, sometimes it’s the little things that make me love it.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.