May date for Walters?
Leroy Brown, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters, who returned to his training base in Panama last Wednesday, could have his next fight at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden, New York on March 21 against Puerto Rican Gamalier Rodriguez, The Sunday Gleaner has been informed.
Walters, who has a 25-0 record, was recently named the RJR Sports Foundation's, Sportsman of the Year 2014, and was awarded a Special Honour Award for Sport by The Gleaner. He is promoted by Bob Arum's company, Top Rank. Arum confirmed over the weekend that negotiations are now taking place for a Walters versus Rodriguez fight to take place as a co-feature on a card that will be broadcast on HBO cable network.
The other fight for which negotiations are taking place is between Terence Crawford and Chris Algieri for the vacant WBO junior welterweight title. Arum believes that a deal will be finalised between the various parties shortly. In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner yesterday, Jacques Deschamps, who manages Walters, confirmed that the negotiations are taking place and said that a decision should be made soon.
"If finalised, it will be a very competitive fight for Nicholas because Rodriguez is a good opponent. He will, in fact, be a tough opponent, but that is what I want for Nicholas now; someone who will challenge him as he furthers his career as a champion."
He expressed some concern that Walters has not been training much in recent weeks since he took time off for the Christmas holidays and has been in Jamaica for the various awards functions.
Getting in training mode
"I have told him that he has to get back into full training mode immediately, concentrate on boxing full-time, get the extra weight off, and sharpen his fighting skills quickly for this fight. He has to be fully focused for the next several weeks."
He also said how happy he was that the venue will be New York, which has an extensive Jamaican population, and at Madison Square Garden, the home of many famous world title fights over the years.
Rodriguez is the North American Boxing Organisation champion, and is rated their No. 1 featherweight contender by the World Boxing Organisation. He has a 27-2-3 record and, since October 2010, has had 18 fights, won 17 of them, 13 inside the distance, and was held to a draw in the other.