When Top Rank founder and CEO of Top Rank Bob Arum mentioned that he would want to make a Nicholas Walters-Vasyl Lomachenko unification fight in October or November this year, Walters (26-0, 21 KO’s) was in possession of the WBA Super World featherweight title.
On Friday, Walters was stripped of the belt when he failed to make the 126-pound division limit.
Walters rehydrated to 145 lbs., a light-welterweight and avenged his 2008 Olympics defeat to Columbian Manuel Marriaga, capitalizing on his physical and weight advantage for the unanimous decision victory.
Marriaga was never out of it, though, landing some good shots but taking a lot of punishment. The judges scorecards read: 118-109, 117-110, and 119-108, all in favor for the Jamaican.
It raises the question why Walters is still fighting as low as 126 lbs. when he exhibited that he could rehydrate as many as four weight classes overnight.
ESNews spoke with Vasyl Lomachenko’s manager, Egis Klimas, about a potential Walters-Lomachenko clash.
“He’s not the champion anymore. Why do we want him? For what? What reason?” he asked.
While I believe that fight is warranted and should happen, I think both fighters would have to move up a weight class or two for it to work because Walters has been struggling to make 126 for a while now, and finally the saddle on the horse fell off.
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez stalked each other from 126 all the way to 147 lbs., so it’s not a dead deal by any means.
Lomachenko, who is in possession of the WBO title, if he chooses to stay at featherweight, has a couple of options.
The No. 2 WBO contender is the undefeated Jessie Magdaleno (21-0, 15 KO’s) but the Las Vegas-based fighter hasn’t fought in a title fight, let alone a 10-round fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if he also skipped No. 3 Kamil Laszczyk, either.
Instead, I think former WBC World featherweight champion Abner Mares will get the call, who has won three fights consecutively since losing his title in August 2013 to Jhonny Gonzalez by first-round KO.
Lomachenko is a phenomenal boxer and it’s unknown if Mares has truly recovered from the Gonzalez fight. Either way, it should be a sensational event.