Using a big weight advantage of 10 pounds, former WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters (26-0, 21 KOs) cruised to a 12 round unanimous decision over Miguel Marriaga (20-1, 18 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York. Walters dropped Marriaga in the 9th round with a right hand, and punished him with hard head and body shots throughout. The judges scored the fight 118-109, 117-110 and 119-108.
The fight would likely have been more entertaining if both guys were the same size, but with Walters’ weight of 145 pounds on the night of the fight, he was too big for the 135 pound Marriaga to deal with. While Marriaga put on nine pounds after he rehydrated for the fight, Walters put on 18 pounds and was just too big for Marriaga to handle.
The size won the fight for Walters. He was able to hit harder with his extra weight, and take the heavy shots that Marriaga would occasionally hit him with.
#3 WBA lightweight contender Felix Verdejo (18-0, 13 KOs) stayed undefeated with a 10 round unanimous decision win over Ivan Najera (16-1, 8 KOs). Like Nicholas Walters, Verdejo was just too big for his shorter, and lighter looking opponent Najera. The judges scored the fight 100-88, 100-88, and 99-89. Verdejo knocked Najera to the canvas twice in dropping him in the 5th and 7th rounds. Verdejo appeared to gas out briefly after knocking Najera down in the 5th round with a left hook to the head. Two rounds later, Verdejo dropped Najera with a short check left hook.
It was reported after the fight that Verdejo had suffered a hand injury that will need surgery. That’s obviously bad news for Top Rank promoter Bob Arum because he sees him as a new star for his Top Rank stable.
I don’t know if Verdejo is going to be as big a star as Arum thinks he’ll be. Verdejo didn’t look all that spectacular against a guy that had little punching power. For the most part, Verdejo just looked like a guy that was big for the lightweight class, and who was getting over with his size advantage. If that’s going to be his main gimmick, being bigger than the guys he’s fighting against, then Verdejo needs to stay at lightweight as long as he can. If he moves up to welterweight in the future, and he looks like he could easily fight in the 147 pound weight class, I don’t know that he’s going to shine like he’s doing now against the much smaller fighters that he’s facing. Verdejo was getting hit plenty times tonight by Najera, but the thing is Verdejo didn’t have to worry about Najera’s punching power because he had none to speak of.
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