By William Mackay: British boxing promoter Frank Warren says that they wanted 47-year-old Bernard Hopkins to face his fighter WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO’s) for his next fight, but Hopkins pulled out of the negotiations for some reason.
They also tried to get Carl Froch, the IBF super middleweight champion, to move up in weight to face Cleverly but he wouldn’t do it.
Speaking on his column at thesun.co.uk, Warren said “The main target was…Bernard Hopkins but after I agreed [to] terms with his promoter Golden Boy, he pulled out…Froch turned down a huge purse to step up a division to take on Cleverly.”
You can’t blame Froch for turning down the Cleverly fight. There’s no real upside to fighting Cleverly compared to guys like Lucian Bute and Mikkel Kessler, two fighters that Froch expects to fight next year. However, Froch is taking a soft for his next fight in November against American Yusaf Mack and you have to wonder if the offer made to him for the Cleverly fight wasn’t enough to interest him.
You’d have to figure that a Cleverly-Froch fight would pull in more money for Froch than him fighting Mack, a guy that was recently knocked out by Tavoris Cloud and Glen Johnson. It’s hard to say why Froch would turn down a fight that could potentially make him more money unless he was worried about something going wrong in that fight. It’s easy to understand why Hopkins might be a little hesitant to fight Cleverly. After all, the fight would likely have taken place in Cleverly’s home country of Wales at the Millenium Dome and Hopkins might have a hard time winning a decision over there. However, Froch would be in a no win situation in a fight against the still badly inexperienced Cleverly, because even if Froch were to easily beat him, he likely wouldn’t get a lot of credit for doing so. And if Froch were to struggle or loss to Cleverly, that would hurt his chances of fighting Bute and Kessler.
According to Hattoboxing.com, Cleverly could face #3 WBO Denis Simcic (28-1, 14 KO’s) next. This isn’t a really interesting choice because Simcic, 31, isn’t a well known fighter and he could be a step down from Cleverly’s last mismatch agaisnt Tommy Karpency. That fight was a dull one from start to finish because Karpency didn’t have the talent to make it competitive.