Walters was not properly prepared for title fight - Deschamps
"Nicholas was not prepared for his fight against Lomachenko, physically, mentally or technically" was the view of his estranged manager, Jacques Deschamps, when The Gleaner asked him yesterday, why Jamaica's Nicholas "The Axeman" Walters, had given such a poor performance last Saturday, November 26, in his World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Super featherweight title fight against Ukranian, Vasyl Lomachenko, at the Hotel Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
After being completely outclassed by Lomachenko for seven rounds, Walters did not come out for the eighth round, thereby suffering his first defeat in 28 fights, His record is now 26-1-1, while Lomachenko's is 7-1, and he is a title holder.
Deschamps is the man who took Walters under his wings in 2008 as an amateur, and relocated him at his expense from Jamaica to Panama, to be guided by ace trainer of champions, Celso Chavez. Walters turned professional on August 2, 2008, became the World Boxing Association (WBA) Fedelatin featherweight champion on December 18, 2009 and WBA featherweight champion on December 8, 2012, a phenomenal achievement. After three spectacular title defences, with victories against Alberto Gaza, Vic Darchinyan and Nonito Donaire, he was declared to be a Super champion by the World Boxing Association.
The champion's problems with Deschamps started with his fight against Donaire. Deschamps wanted to make that match, because of the aura surrounding Donaire, a former champion, who was highly regarded at the time, and was being highly sought after. Deschamps calculated that a victory by Walters over Donaire would boost his bargaining power and he agreed to the fight at a purse that was then below market. Walters was unhappy with this, however. Deschamps' calculation proved to be correct, because Walters defeated Donaire by technical knockout (TKO) in round six, and the WBA were so impressed, that they named him a Super champion after that victory. A rift had developed, however, between Walters and Deschamps.
The next opponent for Walters was Miguel Marriaga and negotiations were started by Deschamps. At a very critical point in these negotiations, Walters decided that he wanted to do them himself, and told the Bob Arum/Top Rank team that they should now talk to him and not Deschamps. At the end of those negotiations, Walters is said to have eventually settled for less than Deschamps had already negotiated.
MILLION DOLLAR PAYDAY
The biggest blow came at the weigh-in, however, when Walters was overweight, and lost his title on the scales. He went on to win the fight, but he had already lost his title, and with it any bargaining power that he had. It has been all down hill since then. Arum offered Walters the opportunity to fight Lomachenko and a US$550,000 purse, but Walters demanded a million dollar payday instead. That demand was rejected and Lomachenko went on to fight for the WBO Super Featherweight title on June 11 this year, and knocked out the champion Roman Fernandez in five rounds. He was now "King of the Hill", with two titles. He eventually elected to keep the Super featherweight title, since he could only keep one.
Walters was again given the opportunity to fight Lomachenko for his new title, but for less money, and not having fought for a long time, Walters accepted. The rest is history, and the question now is where does he go from here.
Deschamps told The Gleaner that everything went wrong for Walters in the fight.
"For a fighter like Lomachenko," he said, "you have to be well prepared." Walters he stated, should have had at least a two-month training camp, at which attention should have been paid to "conditioning, technical ability and mental toughness."
"Apart from the physical aspects, Lomachenko's style had to be taken into consideration and sparring partners should have been engaged to do what he was likely to do on fight night. I am sure that this was not done." He conceded that the lay-off of nearly one year, was bad for Walters, but was of the opinion that things could have been done to lessen the impact. He feels, however, that with just one loss in a stellar career, Walters can bounce back, and said that he is willing to help him to get back to the top.
ONE OF THE BEST
"Nicholas is one of the best boxers in the world, and if he applies himself the right way, he can be back to the top in less than a year," he stated. "I can get him back there, if he is willing to listen to me," he ended.
The Gleaner then spoke with Walters, and he conceded that he had not prepared properly for the fight. A lot of time, he stated, was spent making sure that his weight was right. In hindsight, he said, there were a lot of things that he would have done differently. Asked directly if he would renew his partnership with Deschamps, Walters said that it is something to which he would give very serious consideration.
"Mr Deschamps has been very good to me and I owe him a lot. I really do not have any problem with him. We have some differences but we can talk."
He added that he is taking some downtime, during which he would make an assessment of his situation.
"Next year is an important one, and I want to have at least three fights. I have a lot of important decisions to make and I will make them early in the new year," he ended.