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Now That He's Won A Belt, Who Would You Like To See Tavoris Cloud Fight Next?

by James Slater - Tavoris Cloud, who captured the IBF 175-pound belt last Friday night, could well go on to become the most formidable force at the weight. Cloud himself certainly lacks no confidence and is looking forward to proving himself in each further fight he has, and a number of good judges rate the unbeaten 27-year-old very highly.

Possessing good stamina, raw punching power and thus far a sturdy chin, Cloud seems to have all the tools necessary to remain at or near the top of his weight class for some time.. Though he never stopped Clinton Woods back on August 28th, Cloud won a clear UD and his performance was good for a fighter who had been out of action for over a year. Now that he's the holder of an alphabelt, who should the puncher face next and then in the coming months so as to further make his presence felt at 175?

Even before (in fact quite some time before) he'd beaten the more experienced Woods, Cloud had spoken about a fight with the man many see as No.1 in the division, Chad Dawson. Even going as far as to suggest that the unbeaten southpaw is scared of him, Cloud, 20-0(18) would no doubt like to fight "Bad" Chad next. But he can't, as Dawson is engaging in a most intriguing and highly anticipated rematch with Glen Johnson on November 7th instead. Maybe, if Dawson gets by "The Road Warrior," a Cloud-Dawson match-up will happen next year some time.

So, with both Dawson and Johnson out for the time being, who does that leave for Cloud to make his first defence against? We can rule out Bernard Hopkins, for obvious reasons (only super-fights from here on in for "The Executioner.") And Roy Jones Junior falls into the same category - minus the super-fights part. Antonio Tarver, should he decide to fight on, would be a pretty interesting foe for Cloud. Never ever stopped in his fine career, would "The Magic Man" wish to risk this statistic with a challenge of the new IBF ruler?

Pre-Woods, Cloud also spoke about going after all the other reigning world champions in his division; would a fight between he and unbeaten WBO belt holder Zsolt Erdei excite the fans? Cloud did say (to this writer) that he'd be willing to travel to take on Erdie, so maybe he will pursue the bout. As to whether or not Erdie would want the fight is another matter though.

Looking further down the light-heavyweight rankings, WBC champ Jean Pascal's name jumps out. Pascal is set to face Silvio Branco later this month - how about the winner facing Cloud early next year? It's still too early for unbeaten talent Nathan Cleverly to call out Cloud, but having said that, Cleverly made it known how he would have been willing to meet Woods had Clinton beaten the Floridian, so who knows.

Looking elsewhere, Adrian Diaconu, who recently lost on points to Pascal, would surely jump at the chance to fight Cloud; or how about the always deserving and gutsy Yusaf Mack?

In an ideal world, Cloud would face one of the number of fighters mentioned above, yet in reality, he will likely face a largely unknown guy who is somehow rated in the IBF's top-ten. But it's early yet, and all new champions are usually entitled to one "safe" defence after becoming a belt holder. Tavoris Cloud, after he's taken care of defence No.1, has a great chance of giving the fans some great, great nights at the fights.

Article posted on 02.09.2009



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