Nicholas Walters Shocks The World…But Not In A Good Way
By: Sean Crose
I think it’s safe to say no one expected Saturday’s WBO super featherweight title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1) and Nicholas Walters (26-0-1) to end the way it did. Oh, most assumed Lomachenko would achieve the victory, but no one expected Walters to quit on his stool after the seventh round. This was the “Axe Man,” after all, the conqueror of Nonito Donaire. The man might not have had the skill of Loma as he walked into the ring at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas this weekend – but everyone knew he had the great equalizer known as punching power to go along with his own considerable skill set.
It didn’t matter. Not in the least. This was a world class shellacking. If there’s another, better, word for what transpired between the two undefeated fighters, I’m unfamiliar with it. Loma, the slick, disciplined, fast, aggressive boxer was far, far more than Walters could handle. Truth be told, the Jamaican was never really in the fight. He landed good to the body at times, but Loma’s relentless attack clearly frustrated Walters to no end. To be sure, there was no way Walters could keep up with his opponent. All he could hope is that some way, somehow, those shots to the body would wear Loma down.
That or he would somehow land a Sunday punch on the Ukrainian wunderkind.
Neither happened. And, in truth, Walters never fully allowed himself the chance to make them to happen. Why? Because he quit. Now, in fairness, the chances of the Axe Man pulling off the win were pretty slim. What’s more, he was being made to look second rate by Lomachenko, who was also being a bit of a jerk by openly rubbing it all in. Standing still with his hands down, waving in mockery between rounds…these tactics, freely employed by Loma, were most definitively not signs of good sportsmanship.
Was Walters right to just up and quit, however? There’s something about pulling a Roberto Duran that simply rubs people the wrong way. Indeed, there’s a difference between a person who quits on the stool during a serious physical beating and one who has simply had enough emotionally. The person who cares about his long term physical well being should suffer no shame. The person who simply doesn’t want to look silly, however…
Of course, all this is easy to say from the comfort of being behind a keyboard. In truth, no one really knows what was going through Walters’ mind except Walters. To be sure, Loma was starting to land hard on the man. A definitive end could have come quickly. Then again, Loma may have simply wanted to take sadistic pleasure from dragging the proceedings out. He wouldn’t be the first fighter to do such a thing.
Ultimately, however, a fighter should know that he or she runs the risk of such abuse when he or she decides to take up prize fighting as a profession. Those who embarrass easily might not want to engage in activity where they could get knocked unconscious in front of millions. Or be played with by a high level professional. It’s part of the hurt business that’s boxing. Or at least it is until you quit on your stool.