Assessing Walters-Sosa



Assessing Walters-Sosa

He said the right words on Thursday, did Nicholas Walters, of his unheralded foe, Jason Sosa of Camden, New Jersey.

Sosa is known to harder-core fight fans, especially in the tri-state area, but not so much beyond that. He had a scant three fights as an amateur, and for goodness sake, lost two of those. But he's acclimated nicely to the pro game, and has some pop, which it SOUNDED LIKE Walters, the Jamaican hitter who held a crown at 122 and 126, and is making his debut at 130 pounds, comprehends with eyes wide open. That tangle will run on HBO, as the prelim fight to a heavyweight tussle between Bryant Jennings and Luis Ortiz.

“Any time you don't know much about a fighter, that's a dangerous fighter,” said Walters (26-0 with 21 KOs; age 29) aka “The Axe Man,” who is promoted by Top Rank. “I'm not taking no opponent lightly. And he has 13 straight knockouts.”

Ah, but he's no Vasyl Lomachenko, or Yuriorkis Gamboa or Nonito Donaire, men Walters has been set to maybe fight with, or has beaten. Is there a chance Walters hasn't prepped in the same fashion he would had a mega-marquee scrap with Loma had come to pass? Sure; only him and his crew know that for sure.

Walters did make assurances that he won't be awed or cowed by the move to 130. He's worked with guys weighing 140, 145 pounds for a long spell, he said, so Sosa won't have him knocking his knees.

He said he's fully focused on Sosa, and is aiming to end this year with a nasty KO, to get him back on the Knockout of the Year ballot, which he enjoyed in 2014, when he stopped Vic Darchinyan.

After that, if he gets that W, he sounded open to anything. Loma ain't the only big name to set his sights on, he said. The Japanese champ, Taka Uchiyama, is on his radar screen;  and it would make sense if Gamboa, fighting on this card, lower down the ladder, and Walters book a date.

And for the record, Walters said he can still make 126 pounds, if the right dance partner is ensconced there.

A Nonito Donaire rematch sounded like it appeals to him, but he'd like to be better compensated for the sequel, he said. All of these gents should know that fighting the Axe man is “very dangerous.”

Sosa, though,  didn't sound like he was quaking in his boxing boots; “my message for the boxing fans for this fight Saturday is: Don't blink!”

He said he owns an edge in power, which will be apparent at Turning Stone in Verona, NY. “I'm an aggressive, smart, powerful fighter, I take pretty good angles. My prediction is that I'm focused, and I will do what I trained to do in camp.”

And…will you win? “Yeah,” said the 27-year-old Camden, NJ native. “I feel we are going to come out and be victorious.”

Walters will be seeing a guy who is relaxed in the ring, more so than his lack of experience would indicate possible. A pro since 2009, he has a piercing jab when he wants to invest in it, and he can close a distance gap pretty quick. His defense looks sound, he is active with his head and torso movement. Walters might find that he can time Sosa when the Jersey boy paws, with both hands, and he can get a little lunge-y at times. But his left hook to the body is placed well and he can crack with either paw. Walters owns a filthy right uppercut which destructed Darchinyan. He's a predator, more so than Sosa, and also can hurt you with either hand. His chin is sturdy, to this point, we shall see if that changes four pounds northward.

Sosa's promoter, Russell Peltz, spoke of Sosa's pop.

“I think he can punch as hard as anybody at 130, and I don't know if Walters has been hit with that kind of power,” said the Hall of Famer from the fighting city of Philadelphia.

Nobody should be put off by Sosa's record, Peltz cautioned. Yep, he's 18-1-3 (14 KOs; stopped once, by Treysean Wiggins in 2012)…but “people get carried away with the undefeated fighter. (Sosa went 2-1-3 in a rough stretch between 2010-2012.) There's an undefeated fighter on every street corner, and that means they haven't fought anybody.”

Pay careful attention to that, readers, that's old school thinking and values and wisdom right there.

Peltz was asked why Sosa hadn't fought world beaters to this point, and he noted that Walters hasn't fought all Godzillas and King Kongs. Also, he stated, Al Haymon has had the sport on something of a lockdown, and his omnipresence has lessened opportunities for independent promoters, and even the mega-power names.

Blemishes on record aside, Sosa portrayed a flawless attitude and degree of confidence. “I feel I'm the bigger, stronger and smarter guy. And will Walters find 130 a stretch? He will definitely find that 130 is serious, a whole different ballgame.”

NY Fights folks…talk to me. Could Sosa be that live dog who turns in an Upset of the Year sort of showing? Or is Walters simply in another class than the fighting pride of Camden? Hey…thanks for reading me here, feel free to ReTweet the story, tell your friends of this new platform that I think is worth your time and energy to visit.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.