Vasyl ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko (7-1-0, 5 KOs) put his WBO super featherweight title on the line against power-puncher Nicholas ‘Axeman’ Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. After seven rounds of one-sided boxing, Walters decided he had taken enough punishment for the night and told Tony Weeks, the referee, he no longer wanted to continue. Lomachenko was the superior boxer throughout the fight but never seemed to hurt his opponent until the seventh and final round. “Vasyl Lomachenko is technically the best fighter that I have seen since the early Muhammad Ali,” said Bob Arum on a pre-fight HBO conference call. Both fighters are signed to Top Rank but the purse for each fighter wasn’t the same. Lomachenko made $1,000,000 and Walters took home $300,000, but left his pride behind in the ring. His post-fight interview with Max Kellerman left fans questioning his heart and wondering if he was just happy to receive the biggest payday of his career.
Kellerman: In the biggest traditions in boxing, proud champions and top fighters don’t just say “no mas” in a situation like that, they continue to try and fight. What do you think about that as a top undefeated fighter who was losing a fight but didn’t appear to be badly hurt at the moment, quitting?
Walters: It wasn’t about quitting. If you look at the last round he caught me with some pretty good shots. I was holding on just to survive the round. It would be stupid to come out after the last round.
Kellerman: So, you were hurt in the previous round?
Walters: Yeah, of course. He caught me with some good shots. But you have to understand, you guys gave me a fight one fight per year. He’s active. He’s fighting more active than me. you know? So, that’s it.
Not often do you see a fighter of Walters’ caliber giving up so early in a fight just because he had a hard time landing power punches on a slippery opponent. It’s hard to tell if the ring rust from being inactive since December 2015 or the ‘Hi-Tech’ boxing ability of Lomachenko was a bigger factor in the abysmal performance by the Jamaican fighter.
Either way, Walters left a bad taste in the mouth of his fans and desperately needs to get back in the ring in order to redeem himself.