HINCKLEY, Minn. — Omaha native Steven "So Cold" Nelson moved his professional record to 13-0 Friday by posting a six-round unanimous decision over Felipe "El Indio" Romero of Mexico at the Grand Casino.
But the former amateur standout, who fights out of WBO welterweight champion Terence "Bud" Crawford's B&B Boxing Academy, had to overcome a first-round knockdown to remain undefeated.
Nelson touched the canvas after a right hand from Romero (20-17-1) in the final minute of the opening round. The light heavyweight from Omaha was in control of the fight at the time and took over again in the following stanza. Nelson scored a knockdown of his own with a counter left to the body in the third.
It was only the third time that Nelson, who has 10 knockouts on his record, had to go the distance since he joined the pro ranks in 2016. Two judges scored the bout 59-54 in his favor. The third had it at 58-54.
Romero, a 14-year professional, has been a gatekeeper at both light heavyweight and cruiserweight. He's been in the ring with a few current or former world titlists, including undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine and WBA light heavyweight beltholder Dmitry Bivol of Russia.
The Mexican fighter came in four pounds over the 175-pound limit for the fight and had a bit of a size advantage over the Nelson, who weighed in at 172. But Nelson wore down Romero as the fight went on.
The bout, carried on ESPN+, was on the undercard of the middleweight championship fight between Rob Brant and Khasan Baysangurov. Also on that card, Nelson's B&B stablemate Ismail Muwendo (20-1) of Minneapolis recorded a one-sided unanimous decision over Hevinson Herrera (24-16) at lightweight.
Sign up for World-Herald daily sports updates
Get the headlines from Creighton, Nebraska, UNO, high schools and other area teams.
1 of 25
Boxing has been a lifelong passion for Terence "Bud" Crawford, shown here in 1998 or '99 at age 11 at the C.W. Boxing Club in Omaha.
By 2005, Terence "Bud" Crawford was one of the nation's top amateur boxers in his weight class.
Terence "Bud" Crawford celebrates his victory over Carlos Molina at the 2006 Golden Gloves tournament. Crawford went on to fall in the national championship bout.
One of Terence "Bud" Crawford's first notable professional fights came in March 2013 against Breidis Prescott. Crawford won by unanimous decision.
In June 2013, Terence "Bud" Crawford won the NABO lightweight title with a technical knockout victory over Alejandro Sanabria of Mexico in a fight held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Terence "Bud" Crawford added another belt to his list when he traveled to Scotland in March 2014 for a bout against Ricky Burns, taking home the WBO lightweight title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford received a hero's welcome when he returned to Eppley Airfield from Scotland after winning the WBO lightweight title.
Fighting for the first time as a professional in Omaha, Terence "Bud" Crawford defended his WBO lightweight title with a technical knockout victory over Yuriorkis Gamboa at the CenturyLink Center in June 2014.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's first professional fight in Omaha drew a crowd of nearly 11,000 people to the CenturyLink Center.
Terence "Bud" Crawford again defended his title at the CenturyLink Center in November 2014 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Ray Beltran. It was Crawford's last fight as a lightweight.
Terence "Bud" Crawford made his debut as a junior welterweight in April 2015, winning the vacant WBO title with a technical knockout victory over Thomas Dulorme in Arlington, Texas.
Terence "Bud" Crawford received the Sugar Ray Robinson Memorial Fighter of the Year Award during a ceremony in New York City in April 2015.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's sons — Tyrese, left, then age 2, and Terence III, right, then age 4 — carry their father's title belts during the Native Omaha Days parade in August 2015.
Terence "Bud" Crawford knocked out Dierry Jean at the CenturyLink Center in October 2015 to retain his junior welterweight title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford has represented both Nebraska and Creighton in the ring, often wearing gear from one of the schools before and after fights. He was honored on the field at Memorial Stadium during Nebraska's game against Iowa in November 2015.
This award-winning photo of Terence "Bud" Crawford was taken in February 2016 as the champ trained in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for his upcoming fight against Hank Lundy.
Terence "Bud" Crawford once again defended his junior welterweight title in February 2016 with a technical knockout over Hank Lundy in front of a sellout crowd at the Theater of Madison Square Garden.
Terence "Bud" Crawford added another honor to his impressive résumé in July 2016 when he collected the WBC super lightweight title and the 140-pound lineal crown to go with his WBO junior welterweight championship after winning a unanimous decision over Viktor Postol at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Terence "Bud" Crawford dominated John Molina Jr. in December 2016 at the CenturyLink Center, winning every round on each judge's scorecard before earning a technical knockout victory in the eighth round.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's next title defense took place in the main arena at Madison Square Garden on May 20 against Felix Diaz. "This is where all of the great champions fought, and I want to be a big part of it," he said at a press conference announcing the fight.
Terence "Bud" Crawford, sporting Omaha shorts, lands a punch on Felix Diaz at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Crawford won after the fight was stopped after the 10th round.
Terence Crawford celebrates his third-round knockout win over Julius Indongo at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, August 19, 2017. The victory made Crawford boxing's only undisputed champion.
Terence "Bud" Crawford knocked out Australian Jeff Horn in the ninth round on June 9, 2018. It was Crawford's first fight in the welterweight division and earned him the WBO title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford scored a knockout win in the 12th round against Jose Benavidez. The event in Omaha drew 13,323 fans and was Crawford's first defense of his WBO welterweight title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford defeated Amir Khan on April 21, 2019, in Madison Square Garden. More than 14,000 fans saw the champ retain his WBO welterweight title.