By Jake Donovan
Competition is a good thing from the perspective of the paying and viewing audience. Some fighters can handle it, others buckle under the pressure.
Amidst a fight card loaded with some of the best featherweights in the world, Nicholas Walters and Vic Darchinyan boldly vow to steal the show when they meet May 31 in Macau, China. The two collide for Walters’ version of the featherweight crown, one of three featherweight title fights on the show.
The main event pits Nonito Doniare in an attempt to win a title in his fourth weight class when he faces South Africa’s Simpiwe Vetyeka, who is coming off of a huge 2013 campaign. Also on the show, Evgeny ‘El Ruso Mexicano’ (‘The Mexican Russian’) Gradovich faces Alex Miskirtchian.
Given all of the talent appearing on the card, anything other than a memorable performance will run the risk of fighters quickly getting lost in the shuffle. To guard against that, Walters and Darchinyan are prepared to step it up a notch – even at the risk of suffering a loss.
“I lost my last fight. I was winning all the way,” Darchinyan (39-6-1, 28KO) noted of his near-upset of Donaire in their rematch last September. “I always look for a knockout. I wanted a knockout and it cost me. I won eight titles and all by knockout. It's just inside me.
“You will see the same in me on Saturday. Maybe it will cost me, I don't know. But I'm ready to fight on Saturday, get the knockout and win the title.”
Darchinyan is a remarkable 12-4 in fights with a major title on the line. All but one of his wins in such fights have come by knockout, including title-winning performances over Irene Pacheco (KO11 for the flyweight title), Dmitry Kirillov (KO5 for the super flyweight belt) and Cristian Mijares (KO9 in their Nov. ’08 super flyweight title unification bout).
Walters (23-0, 19KO) knows a little something about knockouts as well. The 28-year old Jamaican puncher has racked up stoppage wins in nine of his past 10 contests, including in both of his title fights to date.
While a knockout isn’t necessarily all that is on Walters’ mind, pleasing the crowd is high among his list of priorities.
“I'm happy that’s what he wants,” Walters says of his challenger’s intentions. “We want to put on a great show. We're on a Top Rank show with a lot of featherweights. He wants to bring it, I want to bring it, defend my title and steal the show.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox