By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Nicholas Walters has every reason to be concerned if his fight against Vasyl Lomachenko goes to the scorecards Saturday night.
Two of the three judges assigned to score their 12-rounder for Lomachenko’s WBO world super featherweight title – Burt Clements and Glenn Trowbridge – scored Andre Ward a 114-113 winner over Sergey Kovalev the previous Saturday night, which led to a decision that is considered controversial at least by some media and fans. The Nevada State Athletic Commission assigned the third judge, Adalaide Byrd, to score Lomachenko-Walters despite that Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., which promotes both boxers, requested that the NSAC not assign Byrd to score this main event at The Cosmopolitan (HBO; 10:35 p.m. ET).
As if having those three judges surrounding the ring isn’t enough cause for anxiety, Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) has a majority draw on his record from his last fight – a 10-rounder he clearly deserved to win against Jason Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs) on December 19 in Verona, New York.
One could argue that the powerful Walters needs to win this bout by knockout, that the former featherweight champion has little chance of out-boxing the athletic, highly skilled Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) over the course of a 12-round fight.
Maybe that’s why Walters doesn’t appear all that worried about what could occur if their HBO “World Championship Boxing” main event goes to the scorecards.
“The judges are there to judge a fight,” Walters said this week following an open workout at the Top Rank boxing gym. “That’s their job. My job is to fight the fight. Whatever decision they come up with on Saturday, we have to just live with it. I have 12 rounds to try not to put it in their hands. If it goes into their hands, we have to work with whatever decision they come up with.
“Still, I have no problem with going home and knowing in myself, [if] I got home and I feel like I won the fight. If I meet a hundred people in the street and they say I win the fight, and in the other fighter’s heart he knows I won the fight, for me that’s a win. You know? Not every time you get your hand lifted. Because some of the time both hands are gonna be lifted. Sometimes your hand is gonna go down, also. But if you leave out of the fight knowing that you accomplished your goal and you feel like you won the fight, for me, that’s enough.”
HBO will replay the Ward-Kovalev light heavyweight title fight before airing the Lomachenko-Walters fight live from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.