After losing the WBA Featherweight world championship on the scale yesterday, Nicholas Walters (26-0, 21 KOs) remained undefeated by winning a unanimous 12-round decision over Miguel Marriaga (20-1, 18 KOs) in main event of the evening at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The official scores were 118-109, 117-110 and 119-108.
Marriaga was eligible to win the title, but instead it will remain vacant. Walters was able to avenge a loss he suffered to Marriaga in the amateurs and came into the bout putting on 18 more pounds to go with the 127 he weighed in at on Friday, which is one pound over the featherweight limit.
This wasn’t the type of performance fans are used to seeing from Walters after he leveled and destroyed Nonito Donaire last October. Walters was more cautious than wild and more ttactician than “Axe Man,” but when he landed the thud was heard all over the arena.
Walters did score the sole knockdown of the bout in the ninth round with a looping right hand which caught the Colombian Marriaga off balance.
Both fighters were concerned with each other’s power and the slow pace drew boos from the crowd. Walters and Marriaga are both very heavy handed and it seemed they were carrying those hands wearily all night as neither wanted trade. The 29-year-old Walters dominated the fight with bruising body shots which stunned Marriaga in the early rounds.
Marriaga did find an opening in the fourth round and landed his best punches of the bout. Walters, clearly the much bigger man, took the shots very well and landed a chopping right of his own. Marriaga’s punches were so wide he could not land anything of much substance after that round.
Walters unleashed the most damage in the ninth with the kknockdown and then he stunned Marriaga again in the 12th round with yet another right hand upstairs. Marriage stayed on his feet and finished the fight.
According to CompuBox statistics, Walters landed 279 of 809 punches, which is 34 percent and Marriaga landed 165 of 619, which is 27 percent. The question now is at which weight will Walters fight next.
Walters said immediately after the bout that his team will decide in the coming weeks if he will now campaign at 130, or if he will stay at 126, setting up a possible clash with Vasyl Lomachenko. Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank and Bob Arum.
All photos by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing