Advertisement
Advertisement

Willie Nelson Found His Groove After Being Deck Hard

By Cliff Rold

Trading knockdowns early, 25-year old Jr. Middleweight Willie Nelson (18-1-1, 11 KO) of Cleveland, Ohio, settled into a groove in the second half on Friday night at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and scored a ten-round unanimous decision over 30-year old undefeated 2004 Cuban Olympic Silver Medalist Yudel Jhonson (12-1, 8 KO) of Miami, Florida.

Both men came in equally under the 154 lb. division limit at 151 ½.  The referee was Robert Byrd.

An intense opening frame began with a busy Jhonson using his southpaw lead right to get close and land some hard straight lefts.  Nelson, five inches taller at 6’3, began to fire his jab as the round progressed.  Soon the long right hand was coming behind it and Jhonson was found the gap tougher to close.

The same dynamic ruled in the second.  Jhonson found success when he could get close, catching Nelson with stiff counters and wobbling the taller man.  Nelson responded, collecting himself and landing a big right at mid-ring to score a knockdown.  Jhonson beat the count, a little unsteady but able to collect his senses and survive.  By round’s end, it was Nelson again rocked back on his heels but Nelson weathered and kept his feet.

Round three was another frame where both men clipped and rocked each other but neither went down.  Nelson used more movement as Jhonson improved the timing of his right hand counter.  That right hand finally found the mark with full forced late in round four.  Catching Nelson with a hanging right hand lead, Jhonson came over the top and dropped Nelson hard near the ropes. On wobbly legs, Nelson rose and Jhonson moved in for the kill.  The lanky Nelson held and was thrown the mat for his trouble but survive to get to the corner.

Jhonson stayed in pursuit as the fifth round developed, Nelson moving and firmly finding his legs about a minute in.  Trapped against the ropes, Nelson fired back with force.  A left hook started a salvo, Jhonson trying to slip shots but staggered with a right hand as Nelson came forward with confidence.

A relatively uneventful sixth saw both battlers looking for single bombs, the tension high and punch output low.  Nelson, with some rights and a quick left in the last minute, may have just shaded the frame.

The fireworks display of the early rounds was off in the ensuing three rounds.  Jhonson stayed on the front foot but it was Nelson doing more to move his hands.  When exchanges took place, the taller man was able to finish and kept pace when they were in close quarters.  With three minutes to go, Nelson appeared in firm control and solidly ahead.

Jhonson, needing a big effort, instead waited for perfect shots and got nailed for his troubles.  A short left from Nelson was followed with a snapping right at the midway point of the round and Jhonson looked hurt.  Nelson didn’t press too hard, choosing the safe and smart path and returning to his jab before Jhonson could seize an opportunity.  In the waning moments, a Nelson uppercut punctuated a strong second half to close the show.

It was enough.  Nelson was awarded the fight on all three judge’s scorecards, a bit too close at 95-94 and twice at 97-92.  Nelson continues his rebound from a narrow defeat two fights ago, dropped three times and still only held off on a majority decision.  This time, he showed he’s learned how to stay off the floor too often.  It’s the same sort learning Jhonson will now have to do as he deals with defeat for the first time.  

The televised opener featured as awkward a clash of undefeated, high knockout percentage punchers as one could ever see.

At the end of eight rounds, the younger Super Middleweight got the nod but it wasn’t by much.  Sweden’s 28-year old Badou Jack (11-0, 8 KO), 167, managed a split decision over 35-year old Alexander Brand (17-1, 15 KO), 166 ½, of Bogota, Colombia.  The referee was Tony Weeks.

Jack, the far more orthodox of the two, worked behind the jab as they built steam over the course of rounds.  Brand, leaping in with uppercuts and frustrating Jack with slippery shoulders and head movement, managed to win his share of rounds.  The style clash led to clinches and some rough stuff around them, both men warned for shoving in the fourth as Brand nearly shoved Jack out of the ring only to be pushed back hard and across the ring.

In the eighth and final round, his corner imploring him to move his hands, Jack let loose in search of a knockout.  Brand took some big shots well and Weeks came close to taking a point from Jack for a hard hook after a called break.  Brand’s efforts were enough to give him an edge at 77-75 on one card, overruled for Jack at 77-75 twice on the other two. 

The card was televised in the U.S. on Showtime as part of its “ShoBox” series, promoted by Warriors Boxing and Sampson Promotions.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by PACnPBFsuck on 05-12-2012

[QUOTE=MARKBNLV;12117377]Whats crazy is when he stood up he didnt look hurt Johnsen looked hurt bad at certain points.[/QUOTE] especially in the last 3 rounds, Johnson's defense turned into shyt and started getting hit with some flush shots, I guess he…

Comment by MARKBNLV on 05-12-2012

[QUOTE=PACnPBFsuck;12117350]I honestly thought that fight was over after that KD, but he got up and fought his heart out. Good win for him[/QUOTE] Whats crazy is when he stood up he didnt look hurt Johnsen looked hurt bad at certain…

Comment by PACnPBFsuck on 05-12-2012

[QUOTE=MARKBNLV;12117355]Great fight the reason i love boxing both guys fought with heart tonight.[/QUOTE] when I heard the 95-94 score, I was like, Here we go, but at least 2 of the 3 judges got it right.

Comment by MARKBNLV on 05-12-2012

Great fight the reason i love boxing both guys fought with heart tonight.

Comment by PACnPBFsuck on 05-12-2012

[QUOTE=Check;12117303]I have no idea how he recovered from that shot. That was like an ATG recovery.[/QUOTE] I honestly thought that fight was over after that KD, but he got up and fought his heart out. Good win for him

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (6)
Top Headlines Dmitry Mikhaylenko Return Eyed For 4/29 in Sochi Canelo's Manager Rejects Talk of Khan Being 'Easy Fight' Top Rank Motivated To Continue Staging Events in China Daud Yordan Gets Technical Nod Over Yoshitaka Kato Amir Khan: When I Beat Canelo, Everyone is Going To Say 'Wow!' Thompson: They Can't Find a Bum For Luis Ortiz, I'd Expose Him! Julian Williams-Marcello Matano IBF Eliminator For Charlo Shot Boxeo Telemundo Season Premiere to Honor Decorated War Veteran Photos/Weights: Machado vs. Araiza, Cotto vs. Lopez, More Francisco Santana Inks Managerial With Frank Espinoza Luis Ortiz's Opponent Hunt Continues For 3/5 HBO Date Amir Khan Hit By Social Media Hack Attack Frampton: I Feel Sorry For Rigo; Quigg Should Be Embarrassed Dublin Weigh-In Turns Deadly; Saturday Show Canceled Sammy Vasquez Jr. Welcomes Billel Dib To PROBox Stable Inoue, Carmona Agree To Terms For Mandatory Title Fight Lundy Warns Terence Crawford: Nobody Has 'Clearly' Beat Me Sanchez: Canelo Can Be 155, But Golovkin Will Weigh 160! Frank Warren Gives His Take on Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan Joseph Parker Nears Title Shot, Lands Top WBO Ranking George Groves Very Interested in Martin Murray Showdown Lolenga Mock Faces Jorge Silva on February 26 in Aarhus Fazeldin-Mboyane Rescheduled For April 2 In Rotherham Fury: If I Can Beat Klitschko, Khan Capable of Stunning Canelo Chavez Jr. Rips Canelo For Facing Khan: Embarrassment To 160 Seanie Monaghan Hungers For Title Shot, Says Time is Now Deontay Wilder: If Fury Wins, I'll Go To The UK To Take His Titles! Video: Ashley Theophane Discusses Adrien Broner Clash Andre Ward: Nobody Wants Kovalev - That's The Guy I Want! Konstantin Ponomarev-Brad Solomon in Play for Pacquiao-Bradley Margarito Ordered To Have More Medical Tests Before Return Photos/Weights: Caballero, Frankie Gomez, Shane Mosley Jr. Video: Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Canelo-Khan, Career, More Alexander Ustinov Accepts WBA Showdown With Luis Ortiz Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Fighting: I Don't Really Miss It Tarver Cracked Hard Over Child Support Bill - Belts, Medal, Car Theophane Explains His Secret Weapon To Beat Adrien Broner John Magda, Christopher Brooker Clash on ShoBox, 2/19 Canelo's Coach: Khan is an Attractive Fight, Dangerous Speed NSAC Approves Canelo-Khan For 5/7 At T-Mobile Arena
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement