Boxing


Nathan Cleverly Wants All The Belts At 175 - Can He Get ‘Em?!

By James Slater - A new international star may have been born this past Saturday night in Birmingham, U.K. Unbeaten Welshman Nathan Cleverly, for quite a while now a fighter on the lips of British fans, scored his biggest and most important win to date on the hugely successful and fun-to-watch “Magnificent Seven” card. Hammering out a 10th-round TKO over a game Karo Murat, the 23-year-old earned himself a shot at WBO light-heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer’s belt (tentatively, this match-up is set for Dec. 11th in London, but Braehmer has that assault charge hanging over him , and he could face prison).

Cleverly is sure he can take the WBO crown, but that will not be enough for him. As confident as he is tough and talented - “Clev” can box at long range when he wants to, and he can go to war at close quarters when he wants to; as he opted to on Saturday - the maths graduate feels he has the stuff needed to go on and unify the 175-pound titles.. Indeed, Cleverly says that if the Braehmer fight either fails to come off, or after he has won it, he will then go after Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal!

A big fan of Joe Calzaghe, who of course defeated Hopkins in a close encounter back in 2008, Cleverly says he would love to emulate his hero and beat “The Executioner” himself.

“I want to follow in Joe’s footsteps,” Nathan told The Telegraph. “Joe beat Hopkins in Las Vegas, how good would it be for me to bring him to Cardiff?”

That would sure be a massive fight, for Cleverly and for Wales; especially if Hopkins beats Ring magazine light-heavyweight king Pascal in December in Canada. But is Cleverly, still just 20-0(10), in too big of a rush? Yes, he looked good in beating Murat, but Hopkins? Pascal? Actually, I do feel Cleverly could, if he boxed a little smarter than he did on Saturday - when he was too obsessed with getting the KO and took risks as a result - get himself a hard-fought points win over Pascal. Think of the war the Haitian-born Canadian had with Britain’s Carl Froch, and that’s the type of fight I think we’d see if Cleverly got it on with Pascal. For the record, I also feel Cleverly would defeat IBF champ Tavoris Cloud. It wouldn't be easy, in fact another war, but I think the younger man would prevail.

Still, for the time being, the exciting 23-year-old can concentrate on a fight with Braehmner; even if he is thinking about the other belts. Cleverly says he sees nothing about a fight with the 31-year-old southpaw to worry him.

“I can now concentrate 100-percent on my aim to unify the division,” Cleverly is quoted as saying by ESPN.co.uk. “I’ve not seen anything in Braehmer to worry me. After that, I want the likes of Chad Dawson, Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins. I can will all the titles in 18 months if everything goes to plan.”

Cleverly is certainly thinking big! But, can the Welshman get all those big fights in such a short period of time? We’ll have to see what happens with the reigning WBO champ’s legal issues, and then Pascal and Hopkins clash in December. Then, having a rematch clause with Pascal, “Bad” Chad will have to be accommodated. All of this will take time, and Cleverly, as much as he wants those huge fights, will have to wait.

However, when all the dust settles from the Pascal/Hopkins/Dawson rivalry, the self assured boxer/puncher who has already won the British, Commonwealth and European light-heavy titles will indeed be waiting. If Cleverly’s beaten Braehmer or at least won the German’s vacated title, that is!

Article posted on 20.09.2010



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