Nico Ali Walsh doesn’t float like a butterfly like his famous grandfather, but he has shown evidence with five knockouts in eight fights, that he can sting like a bee.
Ali Walsh turned professional on August 14, 2021, but it’s unclear what his intentions are other than to pay tribute to his late grandfather, “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali. Ali Walsh has no amateur background and no promoters or managers banging on his door begging to sign him.
As he approaches his two-year anniversary as a pro, fighting Danny Rosenberger on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on pay-per-view on the Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko undercard, things have certainly changed. . He’s 8-0, and while he clearly adores his legendary grandfather and wants to honor him in everything he does, Ali Walsh also clearly sees himself as a full-time boxer.
He dreams of winning a world championship as a way to continue the family legacy, but he also insists that it is not a dream but a legitimate possibility.
“I’m more than happy with where I’m at right now,” Ali Walsh told Yahoo Sports when asked to give an overview of his progress 21 months into his career. “I surprised everyone by making it this far. I’ll continue to surprise people but I’ll be honest: I’m a little surprised myself.
“I know what I can do. I know I have the work ethic to be a champion. However, it’s very humbling to be where I am.”
Now, let’s sprinkle some rain on this parade. Nine fights into his career, Muhammad Ali is clearly an elite professional who just needs seasoning. He is an Olympic gold medalist and has a lot of amateur experience. He may be the most dominant heavyweight of all time, with the speed and reflexes of a middleweight, the power of a heavyweight and the will and courage of the greatest to ever do it. .
There remain many doubts about Ali Walsh’s ability to handle higher level opposition. Rosenberger is 13-9-4, has won seven in a row and is, by far, the best opponent Ali Walsh will face. No one in their right mind predicted that Rosenberger would win a championship or even compete for one, but he is experienced and will provide the type of test that young fighters need.
Ali Walsh, who has a tattoo of her grandfather on her right arm, understands this. He is a kind and charming kid who handles his sudden fame with confidence. If you were to name the three friendliest, nicest guys in boxing, he would definitely make that list.
He cannot leave the house, he said, without being surrounded by fans who recognize him as the grandson of one of the greatest boxers, one of the greatest sporting figures, of all time.
He said that after he signed with Top Rank, promoter Bob Arum warned him of the pressure he would face, and he did not understand it. But since he’s matured and taken to the boxing business, he’s got it now.
“I was shocked that my life had changed so much in just a year and a half,” he said. “I don’t leave my house – with braids – and not be recognized now. It happens every time, especially if I’m in any kind of athletic realm. Like if I’m in a gym, wow . If I’m in, say, a protein house, it’s just crazy. But I don’t say no to my dreams because of what it can do in my life.”
The more successful he is, and the closer he is to a championship, the higher it will be. He knew that every interview he did would involve his grandfather in one way or another. He was always in the spotlight.
But now he wants to wear the belt around his waist, like most of his peers do, and he doesn’t stop taking it. He said he whipped himself into the best shape he’s ever been in to prepare for Rosenberger.
“The shape I’m in right now, when I’m facing Canelo [Alvarez] on the 20th, I feel confident [even though] I’m going to lose,” Ali Walsh said. “I’m going to lose but I’m still confident going in because of the work I’ve done and the improvements I’ve made.”