By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Nicholas Walters appreciated plenty about Sergey Kovalev’s performance Saturday night.
But Kovalev made one major mistake, according to Walters, that cost the previously unbeaten Russian knockout artist the biggest fight of his career. When Kovalev had Andre Ward down in the second round, Walters says he should’ve finished the newly crowned IBF, WBA and WBO light heavyweight champion.
Jamaica’s Walters promised he won’t make the same mistake a week later against heavily favored Ukrainian southpaw Vasyl Lomachenko on Saturday night at The Cosmopolitan (HBO; 10:35 p.m. ET). If Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) floors Lomachenko, he says he won’t let Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) survive the trouble and make it 12 full rounds to the end of their fight for Lomachenko’s WBO world super featherweight championship.
“Hey man, that’s what I’m really planning on doing,” Walters told BoxingScene.com on Tuesday after an open workout at Top Rank’s gym. “I’m really and truly planning on taking him out. Whenever I take out Lomachenko, 2017 is gonna be a boom for Walters. So we’re definitely planning on that.”
Walters, who settled for a dubious draw with Jason Sosa in his last fight, expects that he and Lomachenko will provide the type of competitive entertainment Ward and Kovalev delivered Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“It was a very close fight,” Walters said. “What I do say, though, is when you knock a guy down so early in a fight, and you’re fighting an unbeaten fighter, an American champion, also, and you’re fighting in the States, you’ve got to take him out. You can’t just go through the fight thinking, ‘You know, we’re just gonna go to the decision.’ Don’t leave the fights to a decision. You know him down, that proved something. Knock him out. Take him out.
“Andre Ward has a lot of courage. He got knocked down in the early part of the fight, and I thought he would be out. But he stood there all night and he fought an intelligent fight, also. It was a close fight. There’s always a rematch. When two guys fight, I have no problem because they did the fight. When guys fight, and run and hold, that kills the sport of boxing. But when two guys fight, to me, that’s a plus. It was a close fight and we’re definitely looking forward to the rematch. There is gonna be a rematch.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.