One year wait - 'Axeman' goes 12 months without a fight
Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters, the man who was once the World Boxing Association (WBA) Super World Featherweight champion and recognised as the best featherweight boxer in the world, has not fought for a year, and the possibility of him becoming a world champion again, fades with each passing day.
This has come about mainly because approximately two years ago, Walters decided to walk away from his former mentor and adviser Jacques Deschamps, and ever since he made that decision, he has struggled career-wise.
He last fought on November 26, 2016, when he lost to Vasyl Lomachenko, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Super Featherweight champion, in a world title fight in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight was scheduled for 12 rounds, and after being totally outclassed by Lomachenko for seven rounds, Walters did not answer the bell for the eighth round. At that stage of the fight, two judges had given Lomachenko all seven rounds, while the other judge had him winning six.
Walters' problems started well before that, however, and just after one of his biggest triumphs under the guidance of Deschamps. That fight was against Nonito Donaire, then regarded as one of the most dangerous fighters in the world. This was a fight that Deschamps pursued on behalf of Walters, because he knew the value of a victory over Donaire.
His calculation was correct, as the WBA was so impressed after that victory, that they named him a Super champion, an accolade granted to only a chosen few boxers. There was a problem however. Walters was dissatisfied with his purse money for that fight, and when negotiations came about for his next title defence against Miguel Marriaga, he instructed his promoting company Top Rank, to have discussions only with him.
Deschamps was not therefore an official part of the team going into that fight, and at the weigh-in on June 12, 2015, Walters came in one pound over the featherweight limit and lost his title on the scale. He won the fight, but he was now only a challenger for the vacant title. He next fought Jason Sosa on December 19, 2015 and that fight ended in a draw.
He struggled to get a fight after that, and when he received an offer to challenge Lomachenko, for the WBO World Super Featherweight title, he accepted it. He was obviously not properly prepared for it however, and was humiliated by Lomachenko.
With his stocks now very low, Walters did not get another offer until August this year, to fight Arturo Sanchez. He accepted it, but pulled out of the fight just days before, on the ground of illness. Since then he has been sitting on the sidelines waiting for an offer. When STAR Sports spoke with Walters recently, he said that he has a promise for a fight in December, but did not have a specific date or the name of an opponent.
At this time, he is not rated by any of the four major controlling bodies in the sport, and his bargaining power has been squandered. At age 31, time is definitely running out on him. A reconciliation with Deschamps is clearly not on the cards, and a career that was once so promising, is now in jeopardy.