Aftermath: Lomachenko vs Walters
Vasyl Lomachenko demolished Nicholas Walters on Saturday night in Las Vegas to continue his seemingly inexorable rise towards the summit of boxing's pound for pound ratings. In the aftermath, Boxing Monthly had some burning questions we wanted answering. Andrew Harrison, James Oddy and Chris Williamson from our online team provided the answers ...
BM: What was your assessment of Lomachenko's performance and the fight?
AH: Lomachenko was so good, he made it a poor fight. Walters just wasn't at the races and the Ukrainian did precisely as he pleased through seven one-sided rounds. And so instead of a great fight, we were left with a virtuoso performance.
JO: Like Andrew, I felt the fight was fairly poor, but only because of just how good ‘Loma’ was. The man is simply beyond description in a boxing ring. The angles, footwork, use of range, speed, punch variety. He couldn’t be touched for those seven rounds.
CW: Lomachenko was sensational and seemed to be getting better each round. The way he moves around the ring is so smooth and skilful and what a shame we didn't get to see the champ really close the show. The fight itself was an anti-climax given that the Walters who showed up looked so poor and lacking in belief almost from the start.
BM: What did you make of Walters' withdrawal before the beginning of round eight?
AH: Walters didn't seem to be there at all. There were concerns about his weight (he seemed to be on fight weight very early this week) and maybe that, in tandem with his recent inactivity, left him flat (which may have ruined him mentally). However, it's dispiriting to see the term 'coward' being hurled at the Jamaican post-fight. In the final round, Walters' legs looked rubbery. If he had a physical problem, or felt unable to defend himself, I'd rather see that recognised and the fighter leave the ring under their own steam, rather than on a stretcher.
JO: Calling Walters a coward is grossly unfair. The seventh round in particular he was eating shots to head and body with very little response. Whilst he didn’t look particularly hurt, to become a boxer at that level you are certainly no coward. I felt he was flat for the whole fight and never got going, although he wasn’t given the chance. He has the proven power to turn a fight on its head, but it wasn’t his night and if he had kept going in I think he’d have been TKO’d anyway.
CW: This is where I disagree with Andrew and James as I consider the finish a shocking withdrawal. I know those who paid good money to fly from the UK to Vegas for what was billed as a 'mini super-fight' and the least they expect is for both fighters to give their best. Labelling a boxer a quitter is a taboo subject and it's very rare I will join those who do so, but Walters was being outclassed, not beaten up, and his actions were embarrassing for a world-class boxer.
BM: Last time we surveyed the BM team Lomachenko was ranked sixth pound for pound. Is that about right or would you have him higher now?
AH: He's obviously one of the best fighters in the sport but 'Hi-Tech' is still developing. In terms of talent (rather than record) he's up there with the best of them.
JO: In terms of skill set I think he is the greatest active fighter in the world. It’s not a criticism of him as he has only been a pro a short time but he just needs more fights now to cement his resume as being the pound for pound king. That being said wins against Rocky Martinez, Nicholas Walters and Gary Russell Jr isn’t a bad start!
CW: I'd say sixth is about right for now. Let's wait until he's in double figures in terms of pro fights before we move him up ...
BM: Who would you like to see Lomachenko fight in 2017? Are there any serious challenges for him at super feather?
AH: He needs to set the record straight with Orlando Salido. I'd also like to see him fight Francisco Vargas before moving on.
JO: I think he is much too good for anyone currently at super featherweight, but avenging the Salido loss would get the juices flowing. I’ve seen suggestions he could fight Terence Crawford and Manny Pacquiao thrown around but I feel that’s way too soon. How about the winner of Mikey Garcia and Dejan Zlaticanin at lightweight for the WBC title?
CW: The Salido rematch makes lots of sense and, as much as I like Terry Flanagan, I would expect 'Loma' to become a three-time WBO champ if Bob Arum's mooted 2017 schedule is accurate. We know Arum likes making 'in house' matches and Top Rank also have Mikey Garcia at lightweight challenging Zlaticanin for the WBC title (non Diamond version!) on the Frampton vs Santa-Cruz II bill. If successful this could set up a truly mouthwatering fight with 'Loma' and one which would surely test Vasyl.