By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Vasyl Lomachenko demonstrated Saturday night that the handicappers had it right all along.
The unusually skilled southpaw demoralized Nicholas Walters and made the Jamaican contender quit following seven mostly one-sided rounds in their 130-pound title fight.
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (7-1, 4 KOs), a heavy favorite against the previously unbeaten Walters, retained the WBO world super featherweight title he won five months ago in a bout HBO televised from The Chelsea, a sold-out, 2,000-seat venue inside The Cosmopolitan.
Jamaica’s Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) suffered the first defeat of his eight-year pro career and surprised fight fans by refusing to continue following a seventh round Lomachenko dominated. The highly touted Lomachenko moved on to more profitable fights, perhaps a showdown sometime in 2017 against Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao.
Walters and his cornermen said a shot Lomachenko landed on Walters’ left temple caused them to stop the fight.
“He’s a great fighter,” said Walters, who was booed loudly by the crowd while HBO’s Max Kellerman interviewed him in the ring. “He hit me hard with a number of punches. I’ve never been hit like that before.
“He’s very fast. He’s a very good puncher. He got me with shots all over.”
The 28-year-old Lomachenko made the first defense of the WBO world super featherweight title he won from Rocky Martinez on June 11 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko tore through Puerto Rico’s Martinez (29-3-3, 17 KOs) in Lomachenko’s 130-pound debut. He dominated Martinez before dropping the usually durable former champion in the fifth round, when the scheduled 12-rounder was stopped by referee Danny Schiavone.
The 33-year-old Martinez had been stopped just once in his 14-year pro career before Lomanchenko demolished him.
Before Saturday night, the 30-year-old Walters hadn’t fought in the 11 months since he settled for a controversial majority draw with Jason Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs) in a 10-rounder December 19 at Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, New York.
Walters, a former WBA world featherweight champion, had been offered more than the $300,000 he earned Saturday night to fight Lomachenko earlier this year. Rather than pass again and potentially miss out on a shot at Lomachenko, Walters accepted the short money for the opportunity he was afforded to knock off Lomachenko, who made $1 million.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.