It wasn’t always pretty, but Southside Boxing Club fighter Willie Nelson earned a unanimous decision victory over Luis Grajeda in a 10-round junior middleweight bout on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.
All three judges scored it 98-92 in favor of Nelson (23-1-1), a Cleveland native trained by Jack Loew. ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas had the fight much closer, giving Nelson a 96-95 advantage. It was Nelson’s seventh straight win.
Nelson (6-foot-3) used his superior size and reach to control the fight, keeping the 6-foot Grajeda (17-3-2) at a distance with his left jab. But Grajeda briefly wobbled Nelson in the third round and nearly floored him in the eighth with a right uppercut that sent Nelson sprawling on top of the ropes. Nelson managed to survive the round and Grajeda stayed strangely passive in the final two rounds.
“I think we completely dominated the fight, except for maybe three rounds when Willie got lazy and careless and got caught with some stupid shots,” Lowe said via text afterward. “We will definitely be fighting the upper echelon in the division. Willie has to start using his jab more. If he does, he can compete with anybody.”
Nelson, who is ranked fifth by the WBC, was the more aggressive fighter throughout, landing 54 more punches.