Written by Kylie Krabbe
Photos by Kylie Krabbe
June 13th 2015
Walters vs. Marriaga: No More Mr. Nice Guy
It has been said that a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter. If that is true, it would have seemed at this week’s final press conference for Nicholas Walters (25-0, 21 KOs) vs. Miguel Marriaga (20-0, 18 KOs), scheduled at The Theater At Madison Square Garden on June 13 live on HBO beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, that given all of the smiles and magnanimous gestures flying on the part of Nicholas Walters towards his competitor Marriaga, this new more relaxed manner on his part would have added up to a thrilling title defense. At that final presser, Bob Arum even went on to un equivocally categorize the upcoming battle as one between, “ two classic bang bang exciting guys, ” that Arum further suggested would likely negate the need for judges when it came to the definitive result.
Well, while it has yet to be determined whether judges will prove superfluous, certainly the scales have proven to be an all but too important factor in this contest to the great detriment of Walters.
While the final press conference for the headlining battle was highly cordial to the point of being almost collegial between Walters and Marriaga, with the two literally laughing and hugging in a somewhat strange show of almost school chum like camaraderie, the next day at the weigh in for Walters, the departure from his usual taut wire focus led to a dog ate my homework result when he came in 1.4 over the 126 pound limit. Unable to lose the weight in the allotted two hours, Walters then unceremoniously lost his title on the scales before even stepping in the ring. While Marriaga came in at a cool 125.2, Walters was an unexpected 127.4 and despite his self stated “ readiness” with regard to both “physical” and “mental” preparation was unable despite the vaunted stakes and historically meaningful venue, to recover to remain champion.
Nevertheless, perhaps this slap on the scales was just the shock Walters needed to be sure to deliver and deliver strong against a fellow undefeated fighter who is just as fresh and ready as Walters himself was when he went up against former pound for pound champion Nonito Donaire (34-3, 22KOs) to win the title in damaging fashion. After all, yesterday Marriaga via a translator lead the charge in making it short but crystal clear to fans that he is “well prepared” - stressing that he is “mentally ready” and well aware that this is his biggest platform yet to truly shine.
Amid current reports that Walters, while undefeated professionally has had a loss to Marriaga in the amateurs, Walters remained dismissive with a very convenient case of amnesia. "Marriaga may have beaten me in the amateurs but I do not remember it. Besides, those fights are four rounds. On Saturday we will be fighting 12 rounds,” stated Walters on the revelation. Well, hopefully the performances on the parts of both fighters can make up for the fact that this is no longer a championship title bout.