by Eric “Sugar Foot” Duran
Nicholas Walters, 25-0 21 KO’s, WBA Featherweight Champion. Walters, from Montigo Bay, Jamaica, has defeated Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan.
Leo Santa Cruz, 28-0-1 16 KO’s, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion and Former IBF Bantamweight Champion. Cruz, from Huetamo, Michoacan, Mexico, has defeated Cristian Mijares and Eric Morel
This has fireworks written all over it. Although both fighters aren’t household names, they’re highly respected in all boxing circles. In Walters, you have a killer whose intentions are to end every fight, with every single punch thrown. In Cruz, you have a machine capable of throwing a hundred punches per round over 12.
This fight is definitely main event worthy, hardcore fight fans will be drooling over the thought of it. However, how will it crossover to the casual fan? Santa Cruz has the larger following, appearing on major PPV’s in his short career. Plus, he’s Mexican and building an American audience. Walters, however, may be the highest rising fighter in the game following his destruction of Nonito Danaire.
Walters’ appeal and marketability is at it’s highest peak. He completely dominated and destroyed Donaire, a one-time pound for pound, champion. He’s a fight fan’s dream, a skilled fighter who smells blood and goes for the kill. He’s basically clipping fighters like GGG, without the hype or promotion behind it. The Santa Cruz pairing would be his official coming out party.
Santa Cruz is basically as big a draw as most A level fighters. With a fan-friendly style, his fan base is continuing to grow with each fight. Fans appreciate his effort and high volume punching. He’s your typical Mexican brawler, following in the footsteps of Morales, Barrera and Marquez.
I’m excited just thinking about this proposed bout. Neither Walters nor Santa Cruz have shown any signs of settling, they’re constantly improving each time out. Also, neither fighter has shown signs of being hurt or stopped. So what happens when you place a murderous puncher against a volume puncher? Either someone will get exposed or the fans will experience Corrales -Castillo all over again.
Quite honestly, I believe Santa Cruz’s biggest asset in his young career, will get him stretched in this match-up. His high volume punching style will expose him to the counter punches of Walters. In the Donaire bout, Walters was able to land his big punches when Donaire was attacking.
My Pick: Walters in a thrilling, bombs away brawl via mid-round TKO