- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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PONTIAC, Mich. -- Welterweight Kendall Holt scored an emphatic first-round knockout of Lenin Arroyo in his first fight nearly a year Saturday night at the Silverdome.
The bout was on the undercard of the junior welterweight title unification fight between Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley Jr.
"It feels good to be back and shake off some rust, but it's still a long road back to getting that world championship belt back," said Holt, a former junior welterweight titlist.
Holt, from Paterson, N.J., who lost his belt to Bradley in an April 2009 unification fight, ended a two-fight losing streak. After he lost to Bradley, he faced South Africa's Kaizer Mabuza in a title elimination bout in February 2010. In a major upset, Mabuza stopped him in the sixth round. Holt hadn't fought since.
But he made quick work of Miami's Arroyo (20-15-1, 4 KOs) in his return. As soon as he landed a big left hook, Arroyo went down flat on his back in the center of the ring. Holt (26-4, 14 KOs) turned away and began to shimmy his shoulders to play to the crowd as the referee called off the fight without completing the count at 1 minute, 50 seconds.
"If they call Roy Jones 'Captain Hook,' then I must be First Lieut. Hook," Holt said.
Holt, who was fighting for the first time since signing with promoter Gary Shaw, is managed by New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who celebrated with him in the ring after the victory.
Holt said he would like to fight five times this year.
"When I'm active, I'm good, but the long layoffs hurt me," said Holt, who wants to fight for a title again at junior welterweight.
Paris outpoints Augustus
Detroit junior welterweight prospect Vernon Paris (24-0, 14 KOs) had the hometown fans behind him when the fight began but they were booing when he was announced as the winner of an eight-round unanimous decision against fan favorite journeyman Emanuel Augustus, who said before the fight he was considering retirement after a long career of action-packed fights and punishment.
Augustus (38-34-6, 20 KOs), of Brownsville, Texas, took the fight on short notice when prospect Tim Coleman dropped out because of a shoulder injury. But as always, the popular journeyman, known for his slew of ESPN2 appearances, put on a show.
He threw a lot of punches, danced to the music between rounds and did his best to show Paris a few things as they engaged in an entertaining fight marred by questionable point deductions from referee Gerard Ritter. He docked Augustus a point for hitting on the break in the sixth round when he didn't commit that foul. And in the seventh he took points from Augustus and Paris for holding.
In the end, the judges all had it for Paris, 77-72 (twice) and 76-73, as Augustus lost his fifth in a row.
• Heavyweight Bermane Stivern (20-1-1, 19 KOs) scored a smashing second-round knockout of Kertson Manswell (19-1, 15 KOs).
Stivern, 32, a native of Haiti living in Miami, fought only once in 2010, but he opened 2011 in blazing fashion as he handed Manswell, 34, of Trinidad and Tobago, his first loss. A left-right combination dropped Manswell hard and he was wobbly when he got to his feet. Referee Gerard White allowed the fight to continue and Stivern finished him, connecting with a flurry of punches. Manswell was out on his feet when White jumped in to call it off as he was falling to the canvas again.
• Welterweight Allen Conyers (12-4, 9 KOs) scored three knockdowns and upset James De La Rosa (20-1, 12 KOs) by winning a unanimous decision. All three judges had it 95-92 for Conyers, who took the fight on just a few days' notice.
De La Rosa, a highly touted 23-year-old prospect from San Benito, Texas, had not fought since October 2009 and the rust showed against Conyers.
New York's Conyers hurt De La Rosa in the first round, dropped him in the second round and again -- hard -- in the sixth round. De La Rosa's legs were wobbly but he survived to land some hard punches, but Conyers was undeterred. He dropped De La Rosa again moments before the eighth round ended.
• Former two-time lightweight titlist Julio Diaz (38-6, 27 KOs) scored two knockdowns in the eighth round and stopped Pavel Miranda (16-7-1, 8 KOs) at 2 minutes, 17 seconds of the round in the first fight of the night.
Diaz was in control most of the way although an accidental head butt badly rattled both fighters in the sixth round. In the eighth, Diaz dropped Miranda with a combination and again almost immediately during the follow-up attack. Moments later, the referee called off the fight as Diaz continued to pound Miranda.
Diaz is trying to work his way back into contention after losing two in a row in 2009, a fifth-round knockout to Rolando Reyes and decision to Victor Cayo. He bounced back to outpoint Herman Ngoudjo in May 2010 and was fighting for the first time since.
Diaz opened the show because he is trained by Joel Diaz, his brother, who also trains Bradley and wanted to have plenty of time to get him ready for the main event.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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