Preview: Donaire vs. Walters promises action, HBO, 10 p.m. ET

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Nonito Donaire and Nicholas Walters pose at their weigh-in Friday. Photo: HBO
Nonito Donaire and Nicholas Walters pose at their weigh-in Friday. Photo: HBO

SAN DIEGO, October 17, 2014 – One of the reasons the StubHub Center in Carson, California is sold out for HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” is support from an excellent co-main event, a rare treat for fans forced to endure lackluster undercard fights for big headliners.

Featherweight Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) defends his title against Nicholas “Axeman” Walters (24-0, 20 KOs), Both made the 126-pound weight limit at 125.6 Friday.

The Filipino-born, California-based Donaire was “2012 Fighter of the Year” on most lists with four spectacular knockout performances. Then Donaire lost a unanimous decision to Cuban technician Guillermo Rigondeaux in April 2013. Donaire struggled to regain his momentum and the fire behind his outstanding fights in 2012. He admits he lost focus after gaining success, getting married and becoming a first time father.

Donaire hasn’t lost since, but he has hit some potholes on the road back to boxing star status. He defeated Vic Darchinyan last November in a rematch of their 2007 fight, but it was only because Donaire pulled a ninth round TKO out of his hat and saved a fight he was losing after being roughed up by Darchinyan.

Nonito Donaire arrives at the StubHub Center in Carson, California for Friday's weigh-in. Photo: Mikey Williams, HBO
Nonito Donaire arrives at the StubHub Center in Carson, California for Friday’s weigh-in. Photo: Mikey Williams, HBO

In Donaire’s last fight on May 31 in Macau, Donaire won a technical decision after four rounds over Simpiwe Vetyeka of South Africa. It was a messy, disappointing contest with a questionable result. Donaire was badly cut over the left eye at the end of the first round due to an accidental head butt. Nevertheless, Donaire scored a knockdown with a left hook in the fourth round. Vetyeka got up and continued to the end of the round. At this point, the fight was official. The referee and ring officials saw fit to stop the fight due to the cut. No coincidence on the timing.

Walters is from Jamaica, and lives and trains in Panama. Twenty of Walters’ 24 fights have been knockouts. His last knockout came against Vic Darchinyan six months ago, the same fighter who gave Donaire so much trouble last year. Walters knocked Darchinyan down twice before getting a fifth round knockout to end it.

Nicholas Walters arrives at the StubHub Center in Carson for Friday's weigh-in. Photo: Mikey Williams, HBO
Nicholas Walters arrives at the StubHub Center in Carson for Friday’s weigh-in. Photo: Mikey Williams, HBO

Walters has good power and a top notch defense based in great footwork and speed to go with it. But unlike technical fighters willing to score a few shots and move away, Walters is willing to engage when it’s in his best interests, and he looks for knockout wins. If this pair decides to engage each other full-tilt, the fans will be the winners. Donaire will need to be back on his FOTY game to prevail over Walters.

Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank says the winner will likely fight exciting star and titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. If Donaire wins and has his way, he’d prefer to get revenge against Rigondeaux. But Donaire says he’ll fight anyone. The good news is that there are plenty of options and all are good for boxing fans.

Donaire vs. Walters opens for Golovkin vs. Rubio, “Mexican Style,” this Saturday, October 18, at 10 p.m. ET on HBO an HBO Latino.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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