Axeman's career at a crossroads
"I know that my career is at a difficult stage at this time, but 2017 will be a better year for me, and I will be a champion again by the end of the year," Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters told The Gleaner yesterday.
Walters was reflecting on the past year, which was the worst for him since he became a world champion on December 8, 2010 at the National Indoor Sports Centre here in Jamaica, with a seventh-round TKO victory over Daulis Prescott, for the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight title.
He had only one fight last year on November 26 and lost by technical knockout to Vasyl Lomachenko when he quit after the seventh round. It was a devastating loss. Walters said he knows that he can do much better, and plans to redeem himself this year.
This is without doubt the lowest point in his career but the trouble started on June 12, 2016 when he failed to make the weight for his title fight against Miguel Marriaga and lost his title on the scales. The fight did take place on June 13 as scheduled and Walters won by unanimous decision, but he was no longer a world champion. He was devastated when he lost the title the way he did.
"That should not have happened, and I have to put the past year behind me and move forward," he added.
A review of the world rankings for December 2016 published last week, show that for the first time since 2010, Walters is not ranked by any of the controlling bodies of boxing. He first entered the world rankings on December 10, 2010, after he became the WBA Fedelatin featherweight title with a fifth round TKO victory over Jose Payares. His career then peaked on October 18, 2014, when he scored a sixth-round TKO victory over Nonito Donaire, to retain his featherweight title.
That fight, however, sowed some seeds of discord between Walters and his long-time mentor and manager Jacques Deschamps, and this has undoubtedly hurt his career. He became estranged from the man who had guided him from being an unknown amateur to a world title, because he believed that Deschamps did not get a good enough deal for him for the Donaire fight and he decided to handle his own affairs.
In his next fight in June 2015 against Marriaga, he lost the title on the scales, was then held to a draw by Jason Sosa on December 12, 2015, and then in is one fight in November 2016, he lost to Lomachenko. Walters is being urged to mend fences with Deschamps, and he told The Gleaner yesterday, that he really would not have any problem going back to that camp, but certain matters would have to be cleared up first.
Contacted by The Gleaner yesterday, Deschamps said:
"I am still contractually his manager, although we have not been corresponding, and I would like to renew the relationship. All he has to do is call me or e-mail me. My door is always open for him," he said.