Naim Nelson is a name most boxing fans would not have recognized a year ago and, perhaps, some still do not know who he is. A Philadelphia lightweight boxer and a member of DandD Management, Nelson is part of the Peltz Boxing stable. He is 22 years old and has won all nine of his professional fights. Nelson is a poised fighter who knows when to pick his shots.
The move from junior welterweight (140 pounds) to lightweight (135) was made Sept. 14, 2012, at Harrah’s Philadelphia when Nelson faced well-known Philadelphia Victor Vasquez for the vacant Pennsylvania State Lightweight Title. Vasquez makes entertaining fights and his fight with Nelson was no different. Nelson went to war with Vasquez and beat him at his own game.
Nelson next boxed Osnel Charles, of Atlantic City, on Dec. 22 at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. Philadelphia fans should remember Charles, who scored a devastating first-round knockout over Anthony Flores, a popular Philadelphia fighter, on June 25, 2011, at the Asylum Arena in South Philadelphia.
Against Nelson, however, it was a different story. Nelson out-worked Charles en route to a unanimous decision eight-round decision in a solid match on the Steve Cunningham-Tomas Adamek card.
Known as “the Dream”, Nelson is a graduate of the Academy of Essential Knowledge in North Philadelphia. As an amateur, he won 70 of his 77 bouts and captured the Philadelphia Golden Gloves title five times. He can box, he can punch, he can be slick and he can be aggressive. He is talented and he gets better with each fight.
Nelson boxes Eastern European Georgi Kevlishvili on March 15 at the Valley Forge Casino in the eight-round co-feature. Kevlishvili also defeated Flores, but seems to have fallen apart since, dropping decisions to Ronny Rios, Casey Ramos and fellow-Philadelphian Frank Trader. The Nelson-Kevlishvili bout should determine if Kevlishvili is the star everyone thought he would be after he beat Flores bout, or if Nelson is the one we should follow.
It should be interesting since both fighters make for entertaining bouts and, with Nelson’s growing fan base, the crowd will be sure to be engaged.
Nelson has a lot to learn and, at 22, he is willing. It is hard to find fighters who are open-minded enough to try new tactics and come with a new game plan each fight. Too many fighters use the same tactics until they are exposed. Nelson is not one of them; he can use new strategy each time out and he is willing to adapt under those lights.
The author is a Temple University graduate who is now a part of Peltz Boxing.