Western Grandstand : The ‘Axeman’ badly needs a ‘chill pill'
While I am very disappointed with Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters’ meek showing against the Vasyl Lomachenko in their World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Super Featherweight title clash last Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, I don’t think he should be thrown under the proverbial bus.
However, it would be disingenuous of me if I did not admit that, over the past year, I have been quite concerned about Walters’ preoccupation with issues that should be under the purview of his management team. It seems to be distracting him from properly preparing himself mentally and physically to be at his best in the ring.
While I understand Walters’ need to be fiscally prudent and get the big payday in a sport where longevity is a rarity, I think it looks tacky for him to be running his own show and negotiating purses and picking opponents, to the detriment of technical and tactical preparation for his fights.
I am also concerned about what appears to be nonchalance in Walters’ attitude to the sport. Last year, it was quite shocking to see how he gave away his featherweight world title to Miguel Marriaga because, he simply failed to make the required weight.
While I have never been a boxer and claim no special expertise about the sport, based on my involvement in other sports, I know that if one is not well prepared mentally and physically when going out to compete, one is unlikely to do very well.
As it relates to Saturday night’s fight, I get the distinct impression that Walters quit without even consulting with his corner, which seems to suggest he was out there doing his own thing. I believe that if he has no confidence in his handlers, he should ditch them and get a new team. Trying to be his own ‘head cook and bottle washer’ is a sure recipe for disaster.
I am sincerely hoping that Walters’ dad, who was himself a highly skilled fighter in his time, will take time out to have a heart-to-heart with him about the damage he is doing to his talent but not being properly focused. It would be a great shame if this gifted figure should allow his promising career to just fizzle and fall apart.
While I am sure his ‘no mas’ situation against Lomachenko is likely to haunt him in much the same way it has haunted boxing legend Roberto Duran, who had a similar ‘no mas’ situation in one of his famous fights with Sugar Ray Leonard, I believe Walters just has to find the resolve to “wheel and come again.”
There is no question in my mind that Walters is an extremely talented fighter, who understands the sport very well. He therefore must quickly get himself together and begin to rebuild his resume as a class fighter. Now is not the time to fool around, demanding big purses and ruffling the feathers of top promoters.
I am just hoping that Walters will quickly redeem himself and get good people around him to take care of the managerial issues. He needs to be fully focused on improving his boxing skills and becoming a dominant force in the ring in the near future. I believe he is perfectly capable of doing so once he avoids the various distractions and concentrate and just fighting.
I can’t wait to see the ‘axe’ properly sharpened and chopping down opponents again. Walters is far too gifted not to be able to make an indelible mark on the sport of boxing before he makes way for the next generation of fighters.
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