The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 26
By Peter Lim
What an excellent and intriguing matchup between the top two super featherweights, which on paper appears to be a complete mismatch. Despite Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) having almost four itmes as many pro bouts as Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs), this fight appears to be a virtual 50-50 tossup.
The only stumper in this equation is Lomachenko's chin. We know from previous fights that both fighters can proficiently box and explosively bang; Walters might be the better puncher by a tad and Lomachenko the more cerebral tactician by a little more than tad. But while Walters has stoically absorbed clean shots from some of the hardest-hitting featherweights, Lomachenko's punch resistance has remained largely untested in his seven pro fights.
Given Walters' crafty ring generalship, he will catch Lomachenko with direct hits at various points in the fight, but should Lomachenko be able to withstand and shake off those power punches, his superior versatility and punch volume will rule the day in this showdown. While Walters' boxing IQ might be borderline genius, Lomachenko's is pure Mensa.
The Ukrainian's whiskers will ultimately prove sturdy enough to withstand Walters' bombs. He makes the better adjustments to deftly out-box and out-hustle the Jamaican for a close but unanimous decision victory in the 115-113 to 116-112 range in a suspenseful and action-packed encounter.
Every attribute of both fighters - power, speed, IQ, chin and experience - was taken into consideration in predicting the outcome of this fight except one - heart. Walters sure didn't handle adversity too well, did he?He failed the ultimate gut check.