Whitaker won the bout by unanimous decision and the three judges scored 116-114, 115-113 and 116-111 in favour of the American.
It was the second career defeat suffered by Azumah Nelson.
Whitaker and Nelson are both great fighters, Hall of Famers. Yet when they matched their wits and their skills against one another it really was no contest. Whitaker was that good.
Nelson, a fearsome fighter, found out how hard it is to beat the other guy if you just can’t hit him. Whitaker, defending his lightweight crown, was pretty much at his dazzling peak, Nelson had plenty of fight left in him, even if he had turned 31. Moving up from super-featherweight (but smartly deciding against giving up his WBC title), the African warrior suffered the most humbling, frustrating defeat of his entire career.
26-year-old Whitaker boxed superbly, his reflexes as sharp as a razor, his finely tuned boxing brain firing on each and every cylinder. Making the advancing, cross-armed Nelson miss by just a fraction at times, by a country mile on other occasions, “Sweet Pea” was never prettier. They say in boxing a truly great fighter can make a darn good fighter look ordinary. This is just what Whitaker did in Las Vegas 30 years ago. As was written in one of the excellent (and sorely missed) boxing magazines of the day (KO, Ring, Boxing Illustrated), Whitaker was like an artist, painting his masterpiece round by round, the full majesty of his work only truly apparent at the conclusion of the bout.
Nelson went back to defending his 130 pound title, beating good fighters like Juan Laporte, Jeff Fenech, Calvin Grove, Gabriel Ruelas and Jesse James Leja.