By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Vasyl Lomachenko showed Nicholas Walters much more mercy after emerging from his dressing room Saturday night than he did during their fight.
Lomanchenko dominated the previously undefeated Walters, who quit following the seventh round of what amounted to an easy victory for the defending WBO world super featherweight champion. The uniquely talented Ukrainian southpaw initially criticized Jamaica’s Walters for telling referee Tony Weeks he didn’t want to continue in their HBO main event at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan.
A dressing-room meeting with Walters moments later made the typically mild-mannered Lomachenko express compassion for a fellow fighter.
“I really don’t want to talk bad stuff about him because after the fight he stepped into the dressing room,” Lomachenko said. “He was very friendly. He explained why – what was going on. And [how] he tried to kind of like protect himself in the world. He was acting real gentlemanly, so I’m not gonna put any dirt onto his [grave] site.”
Walters (26-1-1, 22 KOs) undoubtedly will struggle to overcome the image damage done by quitting in what was rapidly devolving into a fight he couldn’t win. Quitting is a cardinal sin among boxing fans, sometimes to unreasonable degrees, but Walters wasn’t battered and bloodied, just completely out-classed by a better, smarter boxer whose precision picked him apart.
The 28-year-old Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) first was harsh in assessing Walters’ decision to stop fighting following a seventh round in which Lomachenko landed numerous power punches and started knocking a retreating Walters around the ring.
“In the beginning he was saying he was a gladiator, he’s a warrior, he’s here to hurt people, he’s here to win,” Lomachenko told a group of reporters at ringside in the immediate aftermath of his win. “But after that, when he quit the fight, I don’t count him anymore. He’s [not] a fighter.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.