Overweight Walters loses title
The fight is on, but the title is gone. That was the bad news for Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters yesterday, when he failed to make weight for his World Boxing Association (WBA) Featherweight Super Title bout, against Colombian Miguel 'The Scorpion' Marriaga, at The Theatre in Madison Square Garden, in New York tonight.
At 2:25 p.m. yesterday, Walters, who has been having trouble making the 126-pound weight limit, tipped the scale at 127.4 pounds. His opponent had weighed-in at 125.5 pounds five minutes earlier. The New York Commission told Walters then, that he had two hours to make the weight, and he left Madison Square Garden hurriedly to do what was deemed necessary. He returned to the arena at 4 p.m. to do a test weigh-in, and discovered that he had lost less than half a pound, and literally threw in the towel then. With less than half an hour to do what he had failed to in one and a half hours, he conceded defeat at the scales.
There was a hurried negotiation after this with the Marriaga camp and the promoters, and it was agreed that the fight would go on. There will, however, be a substantial financial penalty to be agreed on, that will go to Marriaga. He could in fact lose up to 20 per cent of his purse. Additionally, if Marriaga wins tonight, he will be the new champion, but if Walters wins, the title will be declared vacant.
Although Walters was very disappointed at this unforseen outcome, he was stoic.
"I am very disappointed that this has happened, but I will just have to move on. The long layoff of eight months was partly responsible for this happening. I put on a lot of weight during this time, and really had difficulty taking it off. All is not lost, however. First I have to take care of business tomorrow night. I have to beat Marriaga, and that I intend to do. I want it to be an impressive victory," he told The Gleaner yesterday.
The fight card has attracted a lot of attention in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut Tri-State area, and Walters is expected to have a strong Jamaican following.
He goes into battle with a 25-0 record, which includes 21 victories inside the distance, while challenger, Marriaga, has a 20-0 record, which includes an amazing 18 victories by knockout or technical knockout.