Is Nico Ali Walsh a future world champion?

By Alex Fesl - 02/05/2023 - Comments

This past Friday night, we saw undefeated Nico Ali Walsh 8-0 (5 KOs), grandson of Muhammad Ali, continue his progression with a decision victory over tough Eduardo Ayala 9-3-1 (3 KOs).

Ali Walsh dominated the fight over the six round match and dropped Ayala in the second round with a sharp counter right hand. Judges were all in agreement at the end of the fight, with the scores 60-53, 59-54, and 59-54 all in favor of Ali Walsh.

This fight showed a considerable improvement in Ali Walsh’s skills compared to his first professional fight on Aug 14, 2021, against Jordan Weeks. In that fight, we saw an over-excited Ali Walsh bouncing on his toes excessively and looking for a knockout as soon as possible with little regard for defense. Although Ali Walsh ended that fight in spectacular fashion via referee stoppage, he came across as very amateurish to fight fans. This past Friday, we witnessed Ali Walsh sitting down on his punches, walking his opponent down with pressure, setting up his right hand with jabs, and a very noticeable improvement in his inside fighting. You really got a sense of Ali Walsh’s confidence in his ability compared to earlier in his young career.

With that said, at 22 years old, Ali Walsh is not being fast-tracked to a title shot anytime soon like other young stand-out fighters like 2020 Olympics Silver medalist Keyshawn Davis 7-0 (5 KOs). Ali Walsh is not a decorated amateur like Davis, so he will need to progress steadily before he is ready for a title shot.

If Ali Walsh gets moved along too fast, it may ultimately derail his young career and potential earnings. Right now, Ali Walsh is pretty good, offensively speaking. He jabs with intention, sets up his right hand well, works the body and head, and throws good combinations. Yet, Ali Walsh often undervalues his defense in favor of more offense. Basically, his defense is his offense. He throws so many punches his opponents get overwhelmed and don’t answer back or are too slow to counter. For Ali Walsh, it may not be a big issue right now, but in the future, a more seasoned boxer will expose Ali Walsh’s lack of defense. Last Friday, we did get a small glimpse of what I am talking about. Ayala did land quite a few overhand right hands on Ali Walsh. Ali Walsh would often throw his combinations and then leave his lead left hand low at his waist, providing a perfect avenue for a looping right hand from Ayala. We can only imagine what the top middleweights would do with that kind of opening.

Looking ahead, I believe Ali Walsh is on a good path right now. His handlers are not throwing him to the wolves, so to speak, or matching him against no-hopers. He is being carefully matched with fighters where he can showcase his talent as well as improve with each outing. I believe we will truly know Ali Walsh’s potential in the next 2-3 years. At that point, Ali Walsh should be getting matched against former champions, past title challengers, and other prospects. Right now, it is too early in Ali Walsh’s career to say if he is championship material or not. At the very least, Ali Walsh has a good chance to be a future world champion if he stays on his current path and stays away from dangerous punchers.

Let me know in the comments what you think of Ali Walsh. Do you think Ali Walsh has the talent to be a world champion? Do you think Top Rank is just exploiting the Ali name?

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