Give Naim Nelson credit, the 26-year-old lightweight never gave up in a 10-round unanimous decision loss to Alejandro Luna.
Stepping into the co-main event on 24 hours’ notice–Luna’s original opponent, Stephen Ormond, missed weight by a ludicrous 11 pounds–Nelson provided durability and heart against Luna.
The 24-year-old Luna had little trouble at range against Nelson, improving to 21-0 with superior footwork and punch accuracy. Luna, whose most recent victory entering Friday came against 33-7 Alan Herrera, may have fought down to his competition at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Nelson, whose other professional loss came to Mickey Bey, was content to counter-punch and defend throughout later rounds; often resulting in spells of inactivity. Though Nelson sustained a deep cut to the forehead, Luna never appeared close to a stoppage.
The future appears bright for Luna, who’s earned 20 career victories in the state of California. Through no fault of his own, he received a less-experienced, short notice opponent on ESPN. Hopefully, he’ll receive quality opposition in his next bout.
Milo Taibi is a freelance journalist from Brooklyn, NY. His work has been featured in SLAM Magazine, Complex, Yahoo! Sports, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @MiloTaibi.