Prediction: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Nicholas Walters
By Liam Morgan
Vasyl Lomachenko (C) VS. Nicholas Walters - WBO Junior Lightweight Championship
Vasyl Lomachenko defends his WBO junior lightweight championship against Nicholas "The Axeman" Walters in The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, on Saturday (Nov 26th).
Lomachenko, recently described by Bob Arum as "technically the best fighter that I have seen since the early Muhammad Ali", is the heavy favorite, however, Walters, the Jamaican knockout specialist, poses a serious threat.
The Axeman remains undefeated in his 27 professional bouts (26-0-1) and has finished off 21 of his opponents inside the distance.
Walters has been plying his trade at world championship level since capturing the WBA featherweight title from Daulis Prescott back in August 2012.
Since then, Walters has scored knockout victories against Alberto Garza, Vic Darchinyan, and, most impressively, Nonito Donaire, where he used his thudding jab and heavy hands to dominate the former three-weight world champion.
Walters followed up his career-best win against Donaire with a convincing points win over Miguel Marriaga. Despite dominating large parts of his next fight, against current IBF 130 lb king Jason Sosa, the bout was scored as a majority draw - so far the only "blemish" on Walters otherwise perfect record.
That fight, back in December 2015, was the last time Walters stepped foot into the ring, so there will no doubt be questions asked about whether ring rust will play a part come Saturday night.
Since Walters last fight, Lomachenko has been busy making history. By knocking out tough veteran Roman Martinez back in June, the Ukrainian southpaw became a two-weight world champion...in just his seventh pro fight.
Since losing his second professional fight against Orlando Salido back in March 2014, Lomachenko has gone on to establish himself as one of the most exciting fighters in world boxing.
During Lomachenko's WBO featherweight title defense against Romulo Koasicha back in July 2015, all-time great Roy Jones Jr. famously remarked that Lomachenko is "a glitch in the matrix" such is the supreme talent of the Ukrainian.
Lomachenko has managed to seamlessly transfer his incredible skills he harnessed during his amateur career (where he was 396-1) into the professional arena.
He is able to throw punches from unimaginably awkward angles thanks to his beautiful foot movement and timing; two factors that will make the fight incredibly difficult for Walters.
If Walters is able to cut down the ring and establish his excellent jab then he will have a chance of slowing down Lomachenko, and, in turn, controlling the tempo of the fight.
There is no doubt that Walters poses the biggest challenge of Lomachenko's short professional career. The Jamaican will certainly gain the respect of Lomachenko if he is able to apply his power early on in the fight.
Planning to land heavy shots on Lomachenko is one thing; landing them on him is another.
I predict that Lomachenko will come out on top due to his superior skills, however, stylistically this is a very interesting match-up and there is no reason why these two proud champions shouldn't produce a fight of the year candidate come Saturday night.