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Confident Nelson Says There Is No Way He’ll Lose to Leija

Thirty-seven-year-old Azumah Nelson, until now a rather reserved member of the boxing community, is going boldly where only the brash and super-confident have gone.

Though Jesse James Leija has been the more active, dangerous fighter in two matchups against Nelson, including a dominating unanimous-decision victory in May 1994, Nelson is not shy about his prediction for tonight’s World Boxing Council super-featherweight title bout at the Boulder Station hotel.

“Nobody beats me a second time,” Nelson (38-3-2, 27 knockouts) said. “I’m telling you, I’m going to stop him in the first round--in the first or second round. The guy beat me before, nobody beats me twice. If he tries to go more than one round, he’ll be in a coma.”

In their first meeting, in Leija’s hometown of San Antonio in September 1993, Leija and Nelson fought to a draw, though many observers thought Leija, eight years younger than the champion, controlled the fight.

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In the rematch, Leija (32-2-2, 14 knockouts) knocked Nelson down, then won the title easily. Leija lost the title seven months later to Gabriel Ruelas, who lost the title to Nelson last December on a fifth-round knockout.


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