Born: June 14, 1981
Kendall Holt was born June 14, 1981 in Paterson. His mother, Debra, dealt drugs and struggled with addiction. When he was 7, she was sentenced to 32 years in prison for her role in the thrill-killing of a homeless man. Kendall’s father, Barry Porter, stepped in and tried to raise him, but he was abusive and soon Kendall was removed and put into foster care.
During their short time together, Barry brought Kendall to a local gymnasium. The boy was captivated by the sport, and began to plan for a life in the ring. The first time he put on the gloves he dazzled young opponents with his speed and strength. As they tired, he seemed to gain more energy. Soon he was being groomed for the Golden Gloves. And in the gym, Kendall felt safe and met people he felt he could trust.
While learning his craft, Kendall looked for ways to make some money. He did a stint dealing crack, but the danger wasn’t worth the money, so he doubled down on his training. His quick hands and knack for defense had some comparing him to a young Floyd Mayweather. Eventually, Kendall found work as an electrician’s apprentice through a local sportswriter.
Kendall won Golden Gloves titles at 18, 19 and 20 and decided to turn pro as a welterweight in 2001. He won his first 16 fights, including a stunning 2004 knockout of Gilberto Reyes that made all the year’s sports highlight reels. Kendall went into his next fight a little too cocky and was dropped by Thomas Davis. Kendall dropped down to the light welterweight class and in 2005 scored another upset, this one over former Olympian David Diaz.
Kendall was offered an opportunity to fight for the WBO light welterweight title in the fall of 2006. He outpointed Isaac Hlatswayo in Atlantic City to win the crown. In September 2007, Kendall fought Ricardo Torres for the WBO junior welterweight title. During the fight, after being knocked down by Torres, Kendall was hit in the head with a full beer can, but the referee did not see it. When he could not defend himself, the fight was stopped and Torres declared the winner.
A rematch was scheduled in the summer of 2008. In a wild first round, Kendall knocked out Torres after being sent to the canvas twice himself. A third match was quickly set up, but Torres pulled out at the last minute. Kendall fought for the WBO/WBC super lightweight crown in 2009, and knocked down Timothy Bradley twice. But Bradley outpunched him and won a unanimous decision. Kendall dropped three of his next six fights, the last one for the IBF lightweight title, in 2013.