Fans can generally accept when you have given everything and found out that you weren’t quite good enough, but quitting whilst there is still fight left in you is the mortal sin. The most famous example of this is the legendary “No Mas” fight with Roberto Duran, in a moment of frustration that he lived to regret, quitting in his 1980 rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard. Duran went from being treated like a God in his native country Panama, a man that was so popular he became exempt from having to pay tax to his government, to being vilified overnight. His tax exemptions were no longer allowed and the people that once revered him now treated him as though he had betrayed an entire nation.
Nicholas Walters most likely won’t receive this type of treatment in his homeland of Jamaica, but he won’t go back a hero and the majority of hardcore boxing fans will vilify him and cast him out. I do share some sympathies with Nicholas Walters, for one he was in against the silky magician Vasyl Lomachenko, a fighter who bamboozles with trickery and glides effortlessly instead of moving like mere mortals. For seconds, he probably wasn’t being paid what he likely wanted to be paid, or at least he felt he deserved. A very poorly scored draw in his last fight that he clearly won against a very capable fighter in Jason Sosa, could also add to his frustrations that his boxing career wasn’t the plain sailing ride he hoped it to be. For thirds, he had been inactive for the past year and then thrown into an incredibly tough match against a man that is ascending the P4P ranks with ease.
Yes, the last part you can level a lot of blame at Walters himself and say that he and his team have perhaps not made the best decisions over the past year; but they were likely attempting to simply get the best deal and what they felt they were owed. A very common theme in boxing I think you’ll agree. Frustration lead to them taking this fight and frustration ended it also. I’m not making excuses for Walters’ actions in the ring in quitting, just that I can at least see the mindset was likely not where it should be coming into a fight of this magnitude for his career so I have a little sympathy for him in that regard.
However on the exact same night on a fairly low-key card in Brentwood, there was a young fighter named Martin Hillman whose record reads 8 wins to 2 losses in against the undefeated prospect Boy Jones Jr. Hillman was outgunned in almost every department, much in the same way Walters appeared to be against Lomachenko, yet Hillman, hurt several times in the fight, dug his toes in and gave the fight every ounce of effort he could possibly give. Walters can say no such thing. Fans of the sport would have given credit to Walters if he had stood up and instead of telling the referee, “No. No,” he had walked to the center of the ring and just tried to throw bombs at Lomachenko in the hope that something would work, much in the same way the young man in the Brentwood Centre had.
Walters has two very good wins on his ledger (3 if you count the Sosa draw), yet with virtually whatever he does now for the rest of his career it will be overshadowed by the fact that he quit in a fight, one time. Very few have been able to rebound from this and it even took one of the true legends of the sport a near full career before fans forgave him. You can do most things in boxing and fans will eventually forgive you, but you simply cannot break the mortal sin.