Cleverly set for Krasniqi (who?!?) clash

30 03 2012

Nathan Cleverly will defend his WBO light-heavyweight title against Robin Krasniqi after the WBO FINALLY sanctioned the bout.

The fight will take place on April 28 at the famous Royal Albert Hall.

The WBO initially decided against sanctioning the fight, stating that Cleverly must fight his mandatory challenger instead.

But Frank Warren has managed to persuade the WBO to allow this fight to happen, with WBO adding the stipulation that the winner must fight the mandatory challenger within 120 days.

Well it’s not exactly a fight to get excited about is it boxing fans?

Robin Krasniqi is ranked 4th by the WBO. Now some would ask “well what’s the problem then, he’s ranked 4th”. Yes that’s fine but they have Chad Dawson, who I believe would wipe the floor with Cleverly, ranked 7th and the WBC and IBO don’t even have him ranked inside their top 40. Says it all about Cleverly’s level of opposition.

Yet Cleverly, and promoter Frank Warren, will have you believe that Krasniqi will be a “hard test” and that he’ll “bring out the best” in Nathan. I hope boxing fans don’t fall for this.

I can fully understand fighters taking an easy defence here and there but when you’re 25 and only had 25 fights, with none of them being particularly tough (except perhaps Bellew), you don’t deserve to have an “easy” fight/defence.

A Carl Froch would be perfectly within his rights to take an “easy” fight due to the run he’s had, but what’s he doing; fighting Lucian Bute.

Warren seems to be pushing for a Cleverly-Hopkins fight (even if he doesn’t come through his rematch with Dawson) next. It’s a cracking fight for Cleverly to have but one he hasn’t earned and is a fight, I believe, he’ll lose. It’s nothing more than a pay-day for Cleverly.

But my message to Cleverly would be:

Get this fight with Krasniqi over with, fight your mandatory and then fight some real competition.

The likes of Cloud, Pascal, Shumenov and Campillo are the sort of fights Cleverly should be having, especially if he’s as good as he, and Frank Warren, say he is.

The Sweet Science UK prediction:

With all that said, I believe Cleverly will win. Most likely via a points decision as he doesn’t seem to have developed any real power in this division.

He does have a fantastic work-rate and that should see him through against Krasniqi but he’ll need more than that to beat the top names at 175.

 

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Cleverly set for February defence

12 01 2012

Set for February defence

Nathan Cleverly is set to defend his WBO light-heavyweight title against southpaw Tommy Karpency on February 25.

It will be the Welshmen’s third defence and will take place at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.

Cleverly and promoter Frank Warren will be hoping a good performance against the American will lead to a major open-air show in the summer, possibly against Carl Froch.

This is nothing more than a stay busy fight for Cleverly and a chance for him to look good as Frank Warren is still building the “Cleverly” name up ; who I still maintain is nowhere near ready for the likes of Chad Dawson or Bernard Hopkins.

A fight against Froch, should he move up, would be a great fight for the British fans to see and could be a great fight stylistically.

I would have preferred to see Cleverly face Dmitry Sukhotsky or someone who is higher ranked than Karpency but beggars can’t be choosers.

Even a fight against fellow Welshman Enzo Maccarnelli would have been a great fight but I’d fully expect Cleverly to wipe the floor with Enzo. We should expect to see that fight at some stage as well.

I fully expect Cleverly to win via stoppage.





Cleverly-Bellew: Who’s ‘0’ will go?

15 10 2011

Cleverly-Bellew: Clash at weigh in

The wait is finally over as bitter rivals Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew clash at Liverpool’s Echo Arena tonight for the WBO light-heavyweight title.

After months and months of back and forth trash talk, the two get the chance to settle their differences in the ring.

I’m not too sure why there is so much animosity between the pair, so much so that the police were called after Nathan’s father/trainer clashed with members of the Bellew team during a press conference, but the time for talking is now over.

Cleverly is the favourite with the bookies but Bellew shouldn’t be under-estimated by anybody.

Bellew packs a thunderous punch and Cleverly would be best served not to let Bellew test his chin too much.

This fight has the potential to go down alongside the other great all British wars. Eubank-Benn, Clazaghe-Woodhall and Cooper-Bugner.

Promoter Frank Warren has said that the winner of this will be looking at the winner of Dawson-Hopkins, with the preference being the living legend Bernard Hopkins as he would be the bigger draw.

For me, this is the wrong direction to take either of these fighters in. Both are good fighters, Cleverly with the potential to be a real good boxer but the likes of Hopkins and Dawson, when his head is right, are levels above these two fighters at the moment.

Sweet Science UK prediction

I expect this to be a good old fashion tear up, with both fighters doing their best to knock each other out. The animosity between the two is so fierce that it makes DeGale and Groves look like the best of friends.

Bellew has said he’ll look to box Cleverly, which would be a mistake for him. Cleverly is a better boxer. Bellew’s best bet is to drag this into the trenches and turn it into a real war. If he catches Cleverly clean; we’ll really see how good his chin is.

Cleverly should really look to box Bellew and not get drawn into a slug fest; which can happen with Cleverly as we’ve seen in the past. He has to stick to using his skills and not get drawn into Bellew’s kind of fight.

I’m expecting a cagey opening couple rounds as both boxers try to figure each other out before things eventually explode into action. I do think Cleverly will look to stand toe-to-toe with Bellew and try and blast him out of there, even though I think this is the wrong option for him.

But I expect Cleverly to retain his title via a late stoppage.

Watch Cleverly-Bellew clash at the weigh in below:





Barker hoping for an upset

2 10 2011

Barker hoping to cause upset

‘Dazzling’ Darren Barker will be hoping to cause an almighty upset as he looks to dethrone middleweight king Sergio Martinez at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Barker faces an uphill task as he takes on a boxer many pundits, and myself included, consider number 3 on the pound-for-pound (P4P) list.

This is a massive step up in class for the likeable Barker, who has conquered the British, Commonwealth and European divisions. One thing is for sure, you cannot fault Barker one bit for what he has achieved.

The real question is; does he have what it takes on the elite stage?

Sadly I can’t see Barker taking the south-paws ‘The Ring’ World Middleweight title.

I like Barker. He’s a very good boxer, very textbook with his style. He possess a good jab, a good straight right, good temperament and he seems like a really down to earth guy.

I just don’t think he has enough speed or power to trouble Martinez.

I will be rooting for ‘Dazzling’ Darren and really hope he puts in a fantastic performance, whatever the result. He’s had quite a hard time in his personal life but he’s done fantastically well to come back and to win the European title in his comeback fight was a brilliant achievement.

Hopefully he puts on a good enough performance to impress the American’s over there to earn himself some further chances.

But I’m afraid Barker will follow in the footsteps of Mathew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes and Brian Magee.

A ‘heroic failure’ sort of performance is on the cards tonight.

Sweet Science UK prediction

As much as I like Darren, I don’t see him having the required power or speed to really trouble a focused Martinez.

Martinez does like to fight with his hands quite low when he’s out of range and Barker will have to try to take advantage of that. His best bet is to stick that jab all night and use his good straight right whenever possible. Barker does posses a decent left hook too and he’ll have to use that to counter Martinez as he comes in.

But sadly I think Martinez has too much power and speed to defeat Barker.

Martinez also possesses that rare one punch KO power (just ask Paul Williams) and Barker will have to be aware because Martinez can hurt you with either hand, particularly the left.

If Barker doesn’t freeze early on the big American stage (ala Calzaghe-Hopkins/Jones Jnr and Froch-Taylor) then I can see him taking Martinez into the later rounds.

If Martinez is unfocused then Barker does have a chance but his lack of power will seriously hurt his chances.

Martinez to win by KO late on.

See the weigh in below:

All the best Darren. I, for one, hope you prove me wrong.





Chance of a lifetime for Magee

19 03 2011

Magee: Massive chance

Brian Magee has the opportunity of a lifetime as he goes for Lucian Butes’ IBF Super-Middleweight title tonight in Montreal.

Magee, who holds the European super-middleweight title, will attempt to defeat the highly rated Bute as he tries to bring a world title back to Northern Ireland.

The super-middleweight division is looking quite hot right now with the likes of Carl Froch and Andre Ward holding WBC and WBA titles respectively. Bute, to me, stands alongside them as the divisions best and I can see nothing but a KO victory for hard-hitting Canadian.

No disrespect to Magee, who is a fine champion in his own right, but this sort of level is just a level too high I’m afraid and I believe Magee will be exposed inside 7 rounds.

Magee will have to show plenty of heart and determination to get anything from this fight and if he is to bring back the world title, he’ll have to do it via KO. There is no way the Canadian judges will let him leave with the title if it comes down to the cards, just ask Bernard Hopkins.

But, as I said earlier, I think Bute will win via KO and then hopefully fight the winner of the Super Six in a unification bout, which hopefully will mean a fight with Nottingham’s own Carl Froch.

Who knows, by the end of this year Britain could have its fair share of undisputed world champions if everything goes to plan.

The future is definitely looking bright for British boxing.