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The price aint right ... Walters pricing himself out of dream fight

Published:Saturday | April 16, 2016 | 4:00 AMLeroy Brown
Walters

Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters, the Jamaican boxing star, is learning the hard way that although he can knock out opponents on a regular basis, (he has done so 21 times in 27 fights), it is much more difficult to win a negotiating battle with 84-year-old, Bob Arum.

Arum is the head of Top Rank, one of the most successful boxing promoting companies in the world.

For the past year, a fight between Walters, who until recently held the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight super title and Vasyl Lomachenko, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight champion, has been one of the talking points in boxing circles.

The plot one heard from time to time was for Walters and Lomachenko to meet different boxers on the same fight card, and presuming that both fighters won, they would then move into a mega clash with each other.

Things took an unlikely turn, however, when Walters lost his title on the scales at the Madison Square Garden weigh-in on June 12, 2015, for a fight scheduled for the next day against Miguel Marriaga.

He won that fight convincingly, but the all-important title was no longer his, and this weakened his bargaining power in the negotiations.

December 19 draw

On December 19 last year in his next fight, this time as a super featherweight (130 pounds) against Jason Sosa, he ended up with a draw decision. The consensus was that he did win that fight, but the records speak loudly, and his bargaining power again dropped a notch.

Promoter Arum decided to fast-forward the proposed Walters versus Lomachenko fight and negotiations started. There was, however, a difference with those negotiations. Instead of being carried out by his long-time manager, Jacques Deschamps, Walters himself took over.

There has been some unease in his camp, because Walters was of the view that his purse for the Nonito Donaire title fight was not enough.

Deschamps told The Gleaner that it was in fact lower than he would normally have gone for, but he took the strategic decision to accept what was offered, confident that Walters would win the title and boost his future bargaining and earning power.

The mission was accomplished when Walters stopped Donaire in six rounds and became a super champion, but Walters was still unhappy and decided that he wanted to do his own negotiations.

Information is that Walters did not do a good job with those subsequent negotiations. When the offer to fight Lomachenko came about, however, Walters decided to go for broke.

Arum has stated publicly that the Walters demand to fight Lomachenko is for US$1million, a price he is not willing to pay. The Gleaner understands that Arum offered him US$550,000 instead, but Walters has refused that offer. They have been unable to come to any agreement, and last word is that Arum has moved on and is negotiating with WBO Super featherweight champion Roman Martinez to fight Lomachenko instead on June 11.

The Gleaner has been unable to contact Walters for a comment as his telephone goes to voice mail and he has not responded to requests for a return call.

His father, Job, told The Gleaner yesterday that he knows of the negotiations and he, too, believes that Walters is worth more than is being offered by Arum.

He is, however, hopeful that regardless of what happens now, the fight will eventually take place.