Watch the Promo for Terence Crawford vs. John Molina Jr.

Watch a preview of the showdown between Terence Crawford and John Molina Jr.

Crawford vs. Molina Jr. happens Saturday, December 10 live beginning at 9:35 p.m. ET/PT on HBO World Championship Boxing.

WATCH: Hey Harold! - Crawford vs. Molina Jr.

HBO Boxing unofficial scorer Harold Lederman previews Terence Crawford vs. John Molina Jr.

Crawford vs. Molina Jr. happens Saturday, December 10 live beginning at 9:35 p.m. ET/PT on HBO World Championship Boxing.

Watch the Promo for Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr.

Watch a preview of the Dec. 17 showdown between Bernard Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr.

Hopkins vs. Smith Jr. airs live on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO World Championship Boxing.

HBO Boxing Podcast Ep. 153 - Lomachenko vs. Walters Recap

HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney break down Vasyl Lomachenko's dazzling performance and Nicholas Walters' surprising decision to quit during their Nov. 26 fight.

Walters Concedes After Clowning By Lomachenko

Photos: Ed Mulholland

By Kieran Mulvaney

Professional boxers show a strength and bravery on a regular basis that few human beings can even contemplate. They will walk through punishing punches from their opponents in an effort to deliver telling blows of their own. But even these most willing of warriors almost all harbor a deep-seated internal phobia: a fear of being embarrassed in the ring, of being hit repeatedly and proving unable to hit back – of being "clowned," as they frequently describe it. It can cause even the strongest of fighters to shrink and slink away like mere mortals, on no occasion more famously than on November 25, 1980 when Panama’s Roberto Duran, one of the most unabashedly violent of pugilists, turned his back on Sugar Ray Leonard and declared “No mas.”

Thirty-six years and one day after that infamous night in New Orleans, a Panama-based Jamaican, Nicholas Walters, succumbed to the first defeat of his career when he, too, threw in the metaphorical towel after seven rounds of increasingly one-sided befuddlement against the peerless Vasyl Lomachenko. As if to underline the similarities, Walters’ trainer even uttered those same two words to referee Tony Weeks as the boxer explained his disinclination to continue.

Angry boos greeted the disappointing conclusion which had immediately become the story, distracting just a little – and unfortunately so – from what had brought it about: an extraordinary display of boxing ability from Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who, just eight bouts into his professional career, is displaying a mastery and degree of dominance over his opponents that few boxers could even dream of achieving after ten times as many contests.

In theory, this was a mouth-watering matchup between two former featherweight champions now both competing in the 130-pound division. The undefeated Walters had made his name obliterating veterans Vic Darchinyan and Nonito Donaire with his skill and blistering power; Lomachenko had glided effortlessly toward the top of pound-for-pound lists with his precociousness, balletic footwork and suffocating punching combinations. It promised to be an intriguing clash of styles, but by the midway point of the very first round, it was already apparent that the Ukrainian’s stylings were more likely to be in the ascendant.

After Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) started with a solid enough jab, Lomachenko began to judge his timing and distance. Toward the end of the opening frame Lomachenko was already displaying his famed movement, slipping to his right and outside Walters’ left hand before landing a sharp southpaw left of his own. That move would be the basis of everything that Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) would do throughout the evening, moving out of range of Walters’ dangerous right hand and putting himself in position to land blows of his own. Whereas Walters, seemingly confused by his opponent’s speed, appeared hesitant to throw punches at a moving target he was afraid he would miss, Lomachenko just kept on throwing, touching Walters with southpaw jabs and unleashing straight lefts once he pivoted into place. The punches weren't yet hurting Walters, and not all of them were landing flush, but they were scoring. On top of that, they were causing the Jamaican to keep his own offense holstered, and importantly, theyenabled Lomachenko to dial in on his timing and his range.

As the rounds rolled past, Lomachenko increased his output and stepped forward to land his blows with greater venom. In the fifth, he stood in front of his foe, throwing punches to Walters’ gloves and then, when the “Axe Man” dared to wing a right hand in his direction, slipping inside it, sliding to his right and landing a quick combination of right jabs and left hands before Walters could reset.

By the seventh, the Ukrainian was in complete control, knocking Walters off balance with his movement and then chasing him across the ring with his punches. Those punches were now landing cleanly, snapping back Walters’ head, and every time Walters managed to regain his balance as if to throw back, Lomachenko had disappeared, only to pop up in a different spot and resume his assault. As the bell rang to end that round, Walters looked discouraged, and he trudged back to his corner likely wondering how he could endure five more rounds of embarrassment. By the time he sat down on his stool, he had evidently come up with his answer: he would not even try.

He stood up and sought to walk across the ring to congratulate Lomachenko, only to be intercepted by Weeks, who asked several times what was happening until he was sure. As the referee waved off the contest, Lomachenko celebrated and the crowd complained; Walters protested unconvincingly afterward that the problem was somehow related to the fact that he had not fought for almost a year while the former Olympian had been more active. He said also that the blows in that seventh round had been telling, and that his temple hurt. But he knew, and so too did the crowd, what had really happened: a very good fighter had come up against an extraordinary one, and been embarrassed. He had been fully clowned, and he wanted no mas.

Watch Live: Lomachenko vs. Walters Undercards

Watch the Vasyl Lomachenko vs Nicholas Walters untelevised undercards live on Saturday, Nov. 26 beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Lomachenko vs. Walters airs Saturday, Nov. 26 at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT on HBO World Championship Boxing.

Weigh-In Recap/Slideshow: Lomachenko and Walters Set to Deliver as Arum Reaches Milestone

Photos: Ed Mulholland

By Kieran Mulvaney

Las Vegas -- Bob Arum has been here before: one-thousand, nine-hundred and ninety-nine times before, to be precise, in a career that began on March 29, 1966, with the first boxing card he even attended, let alone promoted. The headliner that day was a heavyweight of some repute by the name of Muhammad Ali; 50 years and change later, he remains the favorite charge of Arum’s career, a career that has also seen the New Yorker promote 41 Miguel Cotto bouts, 37 featuring Oscar De La Hoya, 20 with Manny Pacquiao and seven with Sugar Ray Leonard, among others.

On Saturday, his 2,000th card will be headlined by his 594th world title bout, his 127th offering on HBO and the eighth professional outing of Vasyl Lomachenko, a blue-eyed Ukrainian assassin of almost supernatural skills, whom Arum has promoted from the moment the two-time Olympic champion turned professional with a plea to be allowed to fight for a world title belt in his very first contest.

In the event, he had to endure a wait until his second pro bout; and that proved to be a half-step too soon, as Mexican brawler Orlando Salido deployed a variety of veteran tricks – from missing weight to repeatedly punching below the belt when the referee couldn’t see clearly – to build a large points lead early. By the time Lomachenko figured out his foe, his storming comeback was too little, too late. Since then, however, his ledger reads six fight, six wins and two world titles -- his first secured in his third contest and his second a few months ago in Madison Square Garden, when he moved up from featherweight to junior lightweight and rendered Rocky Martinez unsure of where, what or who he was.

If there is one element of consistency to Arum’s five decades in the business, it is his penchant for hyperbole, and so when he likens Lomachenko to Ali -- as he has done on more than one occasion over the last several months -- the natural inclination is to raise a skeptical eyebrow. Or at least it would be, were it not for the evidence inherent in the Ukrainian’s in-ring performances. While he may not possess the showmanship of “The Greatest” (and, to be fair, who has truly come close to matching it?), the effortless way in which he glides around the ring, alternately bedazzling and punishing his foes, suggests a generational talent that has to be witnessed to be believed.

In Nicholas Walters, however, the thoroughbred faces a very real challenge: a hard-punching, no-nonsense challenger who, while lacking the precociousness of his opponent, can at his best more than match him in terms of excitement. 

Two years ago, the Jamaican “Axe Man” was flying high after following up an annihilation of Vic Darchinyan with a knockout of Nonito Donaire; since then, however, a hugely promising career has looked in danger of plateauing. A matchup with Lomachenko was first mooted in 2015, when both men were campaigning at featherweight; but, in his first outing since the Donaire win, Walters was unable to make weight for an outing against Miguel Marriaga, and looked disappointingly flat while pounding his way to a unanimous decision win. Six months later, he failed to win for the first time as a professional when he was held to a draw by Jason Sosa – although that result is leavened by the fact that few if any observers outside the three official judges saw it as anything but a clear Walters win, and by Sosa subsequently going 2-0 against solid opposition and picking up a world title belt along the way.

But if Lomachenko is the prohibitive favorite, a natural consequence of his otherworldly ability, Walters is a genuinely live underdog, a man of furious focus, no lack of skills and a championship-caliber punch; if he lands flush on the Ukrainian’s jaw -- and the odds are good that at some point in the contest he will -- the way in which Lomachenko reacts will tell us a great deal about just how great he truly is. 

Arum has said it matters not one bit to him that Saturday’s card will be his 2,000th; all he cares about, he insists, is that the main event is a good one. Given the clash of styles, and the overall level of quality on display, it is hard to envisage a scenario in which that wish is not fulfilled.

Weights from Las Vegas:

Vasyl Lomachenko: 130 lbs.
Nicholas Walters: 129.5 lbs.

 

Watch Live: Lomachenko vs. Walters Official Weigh-In

Watch the official weigh-in for Vasyl Lomachenko vs Nicholas Walters live on Friday, Nov. 25 beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

Lomachenko vs. Walters airs Saturday, Nov. 26 at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT on HBO World Championship Boxing.