By Michael Norby: Undefeated WBC junior welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley added the WBO strap to his trophy case on Saturday night with a stirring and hard earned unanimous decision victory over Kendall Holt
at The Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
A tight and tactical contest was predicted this evening but from the opening round it was apparent that a different flavor would be served for this unification fight broadcast by Showtime. Some quick thinking by Bradley 24-0 (11) in the first round saved his night as, after hitting the deck heavily from a blistering left hook, he rethought his decision to shoot straight back up by taking a knee, taking stock and taking a prime opportunity away from Holt 25-3 (13) to end things early.
From then forward, Bradley bit down and let his hands go – forcing Holt into retreat and, in the process, accruing rounds in a wonderful display of grit and determination. A flash knockdown in the final round threatened to derail Bradley’s efforts but, all three judges ruled unanimously in his favor.
Bradley’s speed advantage was evident from the opening bell as he inched forward, shot out his jab and thumped Holt to the body early in the round. Holt looked for counter punching opportunities and just missed with a pair of menacing right hands early but, with a minute remaining, a crunching left hook sent Bradley crashing heavily to the canvas. After getting up immediately, the Californian wisely elected to get back down on his knee until late in the count and that decision to compose himself may have been the difference in whether or not he made it out of the round.
Despite the violent nature of the knockdown, Bradley’s legs looked solid to start the second and he jumped on the offensive, although Holt was able to find the smaller man with his jab consistently and connected with an hard uppercut/left hook sequence in the opening minute. Bradley was able to score with a zipping body combination not long after and came forward continuously but Holt fought calmly and with purpose – picking his spots and fully employing the ring to find opportunities throughout the round.
Bradley enjoyed a greater deal of success in the third and he connected frequently with brisk body and head combinations as Holt retreated and shot single punches in return. The WBC champion forced pressure on his opponent throughout the round and, apart from a handful of counter punches, Holt was forced to defend and thus was unable to mount any sustained offense.