One might have expected Nicholas Walters to be flat, listless, lack energy, especially if rounds progressed against Colombian foe Miguel Marriaga at the Madison Square Garden Theater on Saturday night.
Considering Walters didn’t make weight Friday, was 127.4, tried to sweat down to 126 and could not, it would have not been too surprising if the Jamaican lost his WBA feather crown on the scale, and tasted defeat for the first time as a pro.
But no; the 29-year-old boxed super smart, used a persistent jab, threw both hands low and high and generally boxed the trunks off Marriaga, especially in the second half of the bout, which screened on HBO.
By scores of 119-108, 118-109, 117-110, the “Axe Man” wasn’t as sharp with the power tosses as we’ve seen before, but he did score a knockdown in round nine. Marriaga didn’t seem to be comfy with his rep as a bomber, as he respected, maybe too much, the Walters pop.
I worked the show doing blow by blow on the internation feed, and was suprised how much energy the Jamaican had late in the game.
Word is he’s done at 126, but then I heard on the grapevine that maybe he’s not. If he can make 126, fans would dig that promised tussle versus Vasyl Lomachenko. Now 26-0 is Walters, while the loser dips to 20-1. Walters was off since October and I think wants and needs to fight more often, so his weight doesn’t tick up too much in between bouts.
Willing Ivan Najera hung tough versus Felix “El Diamnate” Verdejo, but the Puero Rican had a severe pop edge. The 22-year-old gave himself momentum to soak up the love at the Sunday Puerto Rican Day Parade, scoring two knockdowns on the San Antonio visitor. Verdejo, quick with a grin and a filthy check hook, won by scores of 100-88, 100-88, 99-89.
Some bad news; his left hand was hurting some coming in, got worse, and he will have surgery to clean up some bone spur action. The knocks came in round five and seven, and Verdejo impressed mightily with his patience and ring smarts. He didn’t go overboard in pressing too much, and though he did miss with some wild swings, he collected himself, backed off, grabbed some air, and settled down.
The buzz on Verdejo post-fight on the Net was heavy duty. The joint I think would have been more packed, as more than 3,300 people packed in to the building, if Miguel Cotto hadn’t fought the week before in Brooklyn.
In a year, or two, let’s revisit, and compare and contrast attendance tallies.
Felix is 18-0 and the loser stumbles to 16-1.
Sean Monaghan found vet Fulgencio Zuniga to be not an easy out. Zuniga ate more as the fight progressed, looked hellacious walking to his corner, but came out and answered the light heavy blue-collar hitter.
In round nine, the plug was pulled, as the docs were close to pulling the plug, and the ref halted the event when Zungiga went to a knee. His body language indicated he was done for the night.
Seanie is 25-0 while Zuni, from Colombia, heads home with a 27-11-1 mark.