Standing 6’3½” and fighting in the welterweight division, Willie “Quiet Storm” Nelson, is a freak whose physical make-up reminds fans of Tommy Hearns.
Nobody is saying that Nelson is the next Hearns, but if the fighter with the famous country-western singer’s name uses his natural skills and size to his advantage, combined with learning from his past mistakes, Nelson will also become world champion some day.
Nelson was a highly decorated U.S. amateur boxer who had nearly 250 matches, winning numerous titles (PAL Nationals twice and Under-19 Tournament), and suffered only 22 losses.
Nelson made his pro debut on May 19, 2006, stopping Diego Villalba in the third round. As his famous namesake’s song says, ever since Willie’s pro debut at the Manhattan Center in New York, he has been ‘On The Road Again’, fighting all across the country in Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, California, New Jersey and Texas.
Willie won his first 10 pro fights, with six by knockout, until hitting a small bump in the road, a six-round draw on December 20, 2008, versus fellow undefeated welterweight Antonio Johnson.
Between 2009-’10, Nelson won six fights, four by knockout, which included a six-round unanimous decision win over Doel Carrasquillo and a first-round knockout over Jesse Feliciano.
On April 8, 2011, Nelson faced off against the dangerous 10-1 Vincent Arroyo, at the Event Center, in Laredo, TX. While Nelson outworked Arroyo for the majority of the fight, he also left himself open and vulnerable to Arroyo’s powerful counter shots. Despite getting dropped three times over eight rounds, Nelson still only lost via majority decision.
Since that loss to Arroyo, Nelson underwent an attitude adjustment, moving across Ohio, from Cleveland to Youngstown, where his chief second is now Jack Loew, who also trains former world champion Willie’s stable-mate Dannie Williams.
“Jack’s known Willie for years and he’s a proven pro-style trainer,” said Steve Smith (Rumble Time Promotions), who promotes Nelson with Lou DiBella. “Willie is fine-tuning his skills in order to take better advantage of his tremendous height and reach, in addition to working on sitting down on his punches more. He’s surprisingly strong for a thin, 147-pound kid, and the sky’s the limit for Willie.”
“I learned that I needed to pick myself up and become more focused in training and coaching,” said Nelson, reflecting on his loss. “I had been with the same coach for 14 years and, I think, over the years he probably let me get away with some mistakes. After my last fight, I realized that he wasn’t telling me in the corner what I needed to hear. I’m more comfortable with Jack, who I’ve known for 14 years, and he’s been to the top with Kelly Pavlik.”
“Willie made some big changes, leaving his four kids in Cleveland when he moved to Youngstown, right next door to Dannie Williams, and he goes home on weekends. I’ve been telling him he needed help since he was 14-0-1,” said Loew. “Everybody close to him was telling him that because he was winning but not getting better. He’s so freakishly tall with a lot of amateur experience, but he lost when he fought his first real fighter. He was making amateur mistakes and it caught up with him against Arroyo. He’s learning how to use his height and working on snapping punches.”
Back in the ring on January 6, 2012, Nelson shook off the rust and demolished Brad Jackson in two rounds, at Mallory Square, in Key West, FL.
On May 11, Nelson faced off against undefeated Cuban prospect, and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, southpaw Yudel Jhonson, at Texas Station, in Las Vegas, in his first bout scheduled for 10 rounds. The contest was televised by SHOWTIME. With his stiff jab and clever movement, Nelson was able to frustrate and control his touted foe, even dropping him with a right hand in round two. After surviving a fourth-round knockdown via an overhand left, Nelson dominated the remainder of the bout, en route to winning a unanimous decision, by scores of 97-92 twice, and 95-94.
Fighting underneath the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. middleweight championship, Nelson fought the undefeated son of former champion Julian Jackson, John Jackson, at the Thomas and Mack Center, in Las Vegas, on September 15. In an action-packed bout, Nelson outworked Jackson down the stretch to earn a unanimous 10-round decision by scores of 98-92, and 96-94 twice. With the win, Nelson picked up the vacant NABF junior middleweight title.
Opening a doubleheader on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" on March 1, held at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, in Mashantucket, CT, Nelson blitzed Michael Medina in just two minutes of the very first round, to defend his NABF junior middleweight title for the first time. Backed against the ropes, Nelson countered the pressuring Medina with an overhand right and dropped him hard. Medina arose but was met center-ring with the same punch that felled him for a second and final time.