Nicholas Walters knew his fate Saturday against Vasyl Lomachenko and decided to quit before becoming the Ukrainian’s latest knockout victim.
There was no white towel thrown into the ring or waving gloves in the air like the infamous “No Mas” moment of Roberto Duran.
Walters stood up from his stool after the seventh round and went over to speak to referee Tony Weeks.
“He told me literally that he just couldn’t continue,” Weeks said.
An annoyed Lomachenko was awarded a seventh-round technical knockout as the sold-out crowd at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas booed Walters’ decision to end the fight early.
“Let me tell you, in the beginning (Walters) was saying he’s a gladiator and he’s here to hurt people, but after quitting I don’t count him as a fighter,” Lomachenko said.
Walters went over to congratulate Lomachenko, who was putting on a boxing clinic, but the junior lightweight champion didn’t accept the praise and walked away from the Jamaican.
The previously undefeated Walters (26-1-1, 21 knockouts) said a bump on his left temple was the reason he decided to end the bout.
“Got hit hard in the temple,” Walters said. “He hit me with hard punches and I’ve never been hit like that before.
“I’ve only had one fight in the last year. He’s been active.”
A matchup that was expected to deliver back-and-forth action turned out to be a sparring session for Lomachenko, who continues to turn heads with his magnificent skills.
“He’s a magician,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said of the Ukrainian. “There has been no one with these type of skills since the early Muhammad Ali.”
Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) controlled the ring with his exceptional footwork, and his fast hands didn’t allow Walters to use his power right hand. The two-division champion unloaded barrages on Walters with his gloves up, and by the time Walters was able to look up, Lomachenko was starting a new combination from a different angle.
Top Rank, which hosted Saturday’s event, had concerns over the judges used for the main event. Officials from the Las Vegas-based company requested that Adalaide Byrd not be one of the three judges, but the Nevada Athletic Commission denied the request. The other judges were Burt Clements and Glenn Trowbridge, who were part of the controversial decision for Andre Ward’s victory against Sergey Kovalev last week.
Walters ensured there would be no controversy as Lomachenko dominated seven rounds.
Arum has plenty of options for Lomachenko’s bouts in 2017. The most likely route is nailing down a rematch with Mexico’s Orlando Salido, who defeated Lomachenko two years ago. An overweight Salido smothered Lomachenko on the inside during the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s second professional fight.
Salido said he was rooting for Lomachenko to win against Walters and is willing to negotiate a rematch.
“I’m very happy with my win over him, but as a warrior you always want to prove yourself against the best, and he seems to think that he can win a second fight against me,” Salido said. “I would like to give him the opportunity to prove it.”
Arum has thrown out the possibility of having Lomachenko fight Manny Pacquiao in a blockbuster bout. Lomachenko said he’s willing if the bout is at 135 pounds. Pacquiao told the Review-Journal after his victory against Jessie Vargas last month that he’s willing to drop to 135 pounds, something he hasn’t done since 2008.
“It is not beyond the realm of possibility that he and Manny (Pacquiao) could fight sometime next year,” Arum said. “Lomachenko wants challenges and he is a tremendous talent.”
Lomachenko could go up to lightweight to capture his third division title against WBA champion Jorge Linares or WBO titlist Terry Flanagan. Lomachenko also could stay at 130 pounds and challenge WBC champion Francisco Vargas for a unified bout.
The possibilities are endless for boxing’s next star.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24\ on Twitter.