SAN DIEGO, June 13, 2015 – Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters fought a solid if uninspiring bout in his decision victory over Miguel Marriaga of Colombia in New York Saturday. Walters (26-0, 21 KOs) didn’t do anything wrong, but it was far from the inspiring, sensational blowout he scored against Nonito Donaire last October.
See the highlights here.
If the Walters game plan was to be patient, box and mix up a variety of punches to dominate Marriaga (20-1, 18 KOs), he was entirely successful. There was no doubt Walters was in control throughout the fight. This isn’t to say Marriaga didn’t give him a good challenge; Marriaga landed several impressive right hand shots in the fourth round. He kept trying to repeat the sequence through the rest of the fight, but Walters was not going to stand in and trade shots with Marriaga, a wise decision. The pace of the fight began to slow down in the second half. By the end of the fight, Walters had landed 100 more punches than Marriaga, and this was in large part the story of the bout.
Because Walters was stripped of his WBA title due to failure to make weight, the title remains vacant.
The featherweight division is jam packed with talent. The fight everyone wants to see is Walters and Vasyl Lomachenko, the Ukrainian sensation. But there is also Gary Russell Junior, and Lee Selby of Great Britain. Some of the best talent is on the other side of the boxing promoter Berlin Wall, Leo Santa Cruz, Jesus Cuellar, and Abner Mares. Fight fans are coming around to appreciate the talent in the smaller weight classes, and I’m glad to see it.
Puerto Rican lightweight Felix Verdejo (18-0, 13 KOs) had little trouble with Ivan Najera (16-1, 8 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas. Verdejo put on a clinic, dominating Najera in every way. Scores were 117-110, 118-109, and 119-108. Verdejo dropped Najera in the seventh round with a solid left hook. Najera can’t be faulted for effort; he took Verdejo to the end of the fight. Only two other opponents have gone to the scorecards with Verdejo, and they were just six and eight rounds. Verdejo told his corner near the end of the fight he hurt his left hand. Later, HBO reported Verdejo had come into the fight with an injured left hand and may have broken it during the fight. He plans to have surgery in the coming weeks.
Before he does, Verdejo will get to participate in the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade up Fifth Avenue in New York, following the tradition of other great Puerto Rican fighters. He earned it.
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.
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