Two-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, 6-1, 4 KO defends his WBO junior lightweight title against exfeatherweight champ Nicholas Walters, 28-0-1, 21 KO Saturday, November 26, at Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Good News: After pricing himself out of the fight earlier, Walters and HBO came to their senses that provided the necessary financial agreements to get the fight out to the public, one of the best projected fights this year.
The Bad News: This is still boxing and worse, boxing in Vegas, so all bets are off unless you’re one of the insiders who control the officiating. Vegas has been on a Big Stink Run with back to back deplorable November scorings when the untested Jessie Magdaleno scored a wide decision over Nonito Donaire in a bout most thought Nonito won. Then the idiocy of the 72 year old Dave Moretti scoring the Pacquiao/Vargas bout close in spite of everyone on the planet earth scoring it wide for Manny even after Bayless missed 3 of the 4 KDs of Vargas. Then the Byrd family last week, Robert allowed dozen of butt attempts by Andre Ward, and when Sergey Kovalev locked his head up, incredibly Byrd warned him for holding plus missing a clear KD in the first round and then ridiculous close decision for Ward which set off social media sites condemning boxing since most had Kovelev winning wide. And dear Adelaide had Maurice Hooker winning wide over Darlez Perez in a fight Perez won every round with crisp signture boxing. The fact that the Byrds could combine to such heights of outrage just underlines how dirty Vegas can be with impunity. They decide who wins for the bookmakers and their little posse of insiders, fighters and fans be damned.
Crawford and Lomachenko deserve much better and have both suffered at the hands of judges. Crawford suffered a Draw against Jason Sosa that should’ve been a win for him, and Lomachenko in just his 2nd bout was the victim of the most vicious coordinated cheating scam in Texas when the dirty Orlando Salido didn’t even try to make weight and hooked up with ref Laurence Cole to deliver a blizzard of low blows and hitting on the break with impunity. And the Three Blind Mice judges somehow thought those were legit shots while Lomachenko without complaint put a masterclass on Salido that had him hanging on for dear life by the end.
Since both are promoted by Arum and are foreign nationals, technically there should be no bias, but bottom dollar is Arum would rather promote Lomachenko than Walters who stiffarmed the fight early this year over ridiculous purse demands. A cool Million buck purse seems to be his obsession in spite of having less the stellar results the since his coming out party against Nonito Donaire. Problem being both have weak fan bases among American fans who prefer the welter divisions and above, but this will still be a lucrative fight relative to their size since Manny Pacquiao made the division more popular with the public.
The Historic News: These fireworks are to be the perfect honorific of this being Bob Arum’s 2000 such staged boxing event in his 50th year of business. I guess if you could pick and choose the greatest of those fights to sit back with plenty of refreshments and time to watch the really great fights, it might take a few months and an eyeball transplant! He has built a climate controlled underground vault to store those uncounted thousands of fights that is said to withstand a nuclear attack.
So this fight is less about casual fans than true boxing aficionados who greatly appreciate the stylistic contrasts and backgrounds of these tough little guys. Vasyl is the boxer and Walters the slugger, but fact is both are fairly well rounded fighters with a lot of pride and discipline, so this a true high end fight of some of the best, most exciting little guys around.
I favor Lomachenko as having the best ever attributes ever displayed upon his pro debut, just 7 fights thus far, he has been utterly sublime. Nobody can be that perfect though, so Walters as the bigger, stronger guy aims to be that monkey wrench tossed into his works. I could not believe my eyes reading that Lomachenko is a 9-1 favorite a week out from the fight that have improved to 11-1 on the eve of the fight.
Folks, both these guys are deserving better than what Vegas serves up, but such is the unfortunate current business model, so make of it what you may. We can only hope the best man wins in this very poor year for boxing.