By Rick Reeno
Former world champion Nonito Donaire was absolutely stunned when Nicholas Walters (26-1-1, 21KOs) refused to keep fighting in his HBO televised showdown with WBO super featherweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1, 5KOs).
Walters was overwhelmed by Lomachenko's superior boxing skills. He was dominated from corner to corner in the seventh round, and was hanging on for dear life when the round closed out. As soon as he went back to his corner, the referee was called over and Walters advised him that he "didn't want to continue."
When the fight was unexpectedly waved off, the entire crowd at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas was left shocked.
Donaire faced Walters back in 2014 at the featherweight limit. While Donaire had a very strong start, Walters was ultimately too big and too strong for the Filipino fighter. Donaire went down in the third and was knocked out in the sixth. It was the biggest win of Walters' career, and that performance put him on the map.
After that fight, Donaire moved back to 122 where he captured another world title and Walters headed north to 130.
But this was not the same Walters, says Donaire.
"I'm like W.T.F. capitalized right now. What the f*** was that? Me as a fighter and a warrior, if I think I got no chance I'm gonna go out there swinging. That's always been me. I just don't understand how the corner can quit and not give him hope. If you believe in your capabilities, why f***ing quit," Donaire explained to BoxingScene.com.
"I saw that every time that they'd break, that every single time he would look to his corner. I told [Jessie] Vargas, when [Walters] walked over to his corner [at the end of the seventh], I told him 'he's done.' I didn't know he was gonna quit, but I knew he was done mentally. They didn't have the right game plan. They got frustrated. They weren't pushing each other to win [in the corner]."
"You see the biggest deference was, he seemed very nervous. When he fought against me he let his punches go. This time he held on to his punches. There was no power on those punches. Even when he threw the right hand, he would throw it halfway and then pull it back. To me it just doesn't make sense, regardless if you're losing the fight you just don't quit. He went in against a guy who was just five steps ahead of him and he said 'f*** this sh*t."