By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Nicholas Walters hasn’t fought in 11 months.
That’s not an ideal activity level when you’re headed toward a daunting challenge like Vasyl Lomachenko, Walters’ opponent Saturday night at The Cosmopolitan (HBO; 10:35 p.m. ET). If ring rust is a concern for the 30-year-old Walters, though, the former WBA featherweight champion has hidden it well during the buildup for the biggest fight of his eight-year pro career.
“The layoff? I’m in the money-making business, so a layoff for me definitely is part of the business,” Walters said during a conference call earlier this week. “But as a fighter I’ve been over there in Panama, working out and everything. A layoff won’t even bother me. I wouldn’t even take the fight if I didn’t think that I was gonna be ready for the fight.”
Jamaica’s Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) settled for a majority draw with Jason Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs) in his most recent fight. Most fans and media still consider Walters the clear winner of that 10-round, 130-pound bout December 19 in Verona, New York.
This marks the second time in three years that Walters has gone 11 months between bouts. He emphatically ended his first lengthy layoff by stopping Alberto Garza in the fourth round in November 2013.
Mexico’s Garza (26-9-1, 21 KOs, 1 NC) obviously isn’t on Lomachenko’s level, but Walters has assured reporters that his long layoff won’t adversely affect him against the highly skilled Ukrainian southpaw. Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) is a 9-1 favorite over Walters, despite that Walters is undefeated and a dangerous puncher.
“Remember, don’t even think for a minute I fight only for business,” said Walters, who will attempt to become a world champion in a second weight class. “I fight to please my fans and to please both of my countries – Panama and Jamaica, and all my fans over there in Mexico, and all over the world. So I’m not fighting just for Nicholas. So whenever we take a fight, we take a fight because we’re gonna be ready. And come Saturday night, we’re gonna win the fight, just like all my other fights.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.