Ten months after a wildly controversial ending to their first fight, Ricardo Torres will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Junior Welterweight Title against No. 1 contender Kendall Holt in a rematch on a special edition of ShoBox: The New Generation on Saturday, July 5, 2008, live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Top Rank will promote the 12-round 140-pound World Championship bout from the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Torres 32-1 (28) who will defend his WBO crown for a third time, rallied to score a hotly debated eleventh round TKO over Holt 23-2 (12) on Sept. 1, 2007, in the champion’s hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia.
Holt, of Paterson, N.J., knocked down Torres with a left-right combination in the sixth session and was ahead on two of the three scorecards entering what became the final round.
But the defending champion dropped Holt with a right hand near his corner in the eleventh. As the challenger attempted to use his legs and hold on, he continuously slipped on a wet surface caused by fans who hurled beer cans, sodas and water into the ring.
Despite the fact that the fighters had to dodge ice cubes and various liquids, referee Genaro Rodriguez declined to stop the fight and dry the ring’s surface. Instead, he halted the contest with Holt still on his feet late in the eleventh round.
Rodriguez acknowledged near ringside moments later that a slippery canvas might have warranted a break in the action.
“It could have been slippery enough,” said Rodriguez, who is based out of Chicago, “but the action of the fight was more important at that time.”
Entering the eleventh, Holt was ahead 98-91 and 95-94 on the judges’ scorecards who hailed from Puerto Rico and Miami, respectively. However, the judge from Barranquilla had it 95-94 for Torres.
Understandably, both fighters saw the ending differently.
“I was slipping all over the place,” said Holt of the eleventh round. “If I lose, I lose. But don’t cheat me. I’m a man, and he (Torres) is a man. If he beats me, fine. He beats me. But not like that. I got cheated, point blank.”
The champion agreed with the time of the stoppage.
“I thought Holt was seriously hurt and the referee did the right job,” Torres said. “If it would have continued, Holt could have been seriously injured.”
In a recent interview, Torres, who captured the vacant WBO title with a split decision over Mike Arnaoutis in November 2006, said that he will be more prepared for the rematch.
“I hope Holt won’t run away this time,” Torres said. “I expect him to fight, not to run as he did in Barranquilla. I will defeat him in Las Vegas, so there won’t be any doubt that I am the better fighter.”
Holt, who scored a majority decision over former world title challenger and longtime contender Ben Tackie in his last fight on Feb. 7, 2008, obviously is anxious to get a second shot at Torres.
“I have been burning inside, waiting for this chance,” Holt said.