Former WBA Super World featherweight champion Nicholas Walters lost his title on the scales on Friday afternoon after failing to make weight ahead of his fight against Miguel Marriaga on Saturday evening at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Walters was given two opportunities to meet the featherweight limit of 126 pounds.
The Jamaican was initially 127.4 pounds. Under New York State Athletic Commission rules, he was given two hours to cut the weight, but he only made it down to 127 lbs., and was stripped of the belt. The bout will continue as scheduled, with HBO providing television coverage (10 p.m. ET/PT).
Marriaga (20-0, 18 KO’s) of Columbia, still hopes to be the spoiler on Saturday. Prior to the weigh-in, much was said about Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum’s intentions to make a unification fight between Walters and Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, in October or November.
Today may have hurt those chances considerably.
On the other hand, a victory over the 28-year-old Marriaga is not set in stone for Walters, who lost to his impending adversary at a 2008 Olympic qualifying event.
The commission did not augment additional fines on Walters, who instead, agreed to pay Marriaga an undisclosed amount of money from his purse, according to Top Rank. Pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr. had to pay Mexican superstar Juan Manuel Marquez $600,000 after weighing in two pounds over leading up to their 2009 fight.
Via ESPN, Walters pinned the blame on his eight-month layoff following an impressive performance against former five-division world champion Nonito Donaire, who he stopped inside the sixth round.
“I’m coming off an eight-month layoff. I tried everything,” said Walters.
Oscar De La Hoya spent nearly two years out of the ring following a ninth-round KO defeat to Bernard Hopkins in a middleweight unification fight.
The former six-division world champion returned in 2006 to fight Ricardo Mayorga for the WBC light-middleweight title, made weight, and stopped him inside the sixth round in a terrific fight.
It might be time for Walters to move up to 130 pounds. Carl Moretti, Vice President of Top Rank, agrees and was surprised Walters didn’t make weight.
“He worked out as hard as he could, but the last couple of pounds are always hard for him to get off, and he tried to, but physically he felt he would have nothing left if he kept working to get that last pound off.
“I’m a little surprised. I saw him struggle to make weight for the Donaire fight and also for his previous fight, so I always knew 130 was around the corner. I just didn’t think it would be around the corner for this fight. He’s definitely going to 130 pounds after this.”
I mentioned previously about Arum and Top Rank’s intentions about making a unification bout between Walters and Lomachenko. Moretti added that although a unification won’t happen, they still are interested in those two fighting.
“We’d still like to do the fight,” Moretti said. “Let’s see what happens Saturday. If we make that fight, they can fight over 126.”