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The Weekend’s Results

barker100By Rusty Nate: It was certainly an amazing weekend of action. I don’t think the results as they happened were a big surprise although if the results were reversed and happened the opposite way I don’t really think there would have been that much shock.

First up was Nathan Cleverly (26-1-0) defending his WBO World Title against the chilling puncher Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1). Well this result as I mentioned was not overly a surprise in who won the fight. I have thought for some time that Cleverly is a good solid fighter but his work rate is slow and methodical and he is hittable. This was proved in the fight with the relatively inexperienced (at the time) Tony Bellew. Cleverly was shown to be struggling under pressure in that fight and many observers felt the decision could have gone either way. I didn’t honestly expect Cleverly to be completely blown away as he was on Saturday because he has always shown that although easy to hit, he has a good chin.

Right from the opening bell on Saturday night it didn’t look good for Cleverly. He didn’t actually take to many punches in the opening round but what did happen was Kovalev went straight on the offensive as he likes to and Cleverly found himself being forced to immediately fight at a tempo that is out of his comfort zone. He looked uncomfortable and out of his depth. He strangely seemed to be constantly standing well within range of the Russia’s bombs and ultimately the result was he lost. Honestly I still think Nathan made it further than a lot of Light Heavyweights would have done under the pressure of those types of heavy punches but he was never going to win the fight after that first round. His only success was a counter straight right hand that landed and approx 3-4 jabs at the start of the 3rd round.

Cleverly can rebuild as he is young but I think what this proved is that his footwork and head movement needs a lot of work before he climbs back in the ring with a serious puncher again. Having watched the fight I was thinking where does Kovalev go next, obviously if Cleverly is silly enough to push for an immediate re-match then I am sure Kovalev wouldn’t mind doing it again, this time for a better pay day, but I think the result would be the same at this point in Cleverly’s career. There is mention of Stevenson which would of course be a great fight but if that doesn’t happen anytime soon then I reckon Bellew would be a good test for Kovalev. I know the fans will probably blast me for this but it’s simply because Bellew will fight anyone, he has a punch on him and he doesn’t mind taking punches to land them. He has improved a lot since the Cleverly fight and he certainly wouldn’t go into a shell if he gets hit like Cleverly did. It could just be a 2-3-4 round war of a fight between those two and very entertaining to watch.

Then we flew over to America and Darren Barker’s (25-1-0) 2nd attempt at capturing a world title. This was certainly a better matched fight between Barker and the reigning champion Daniel Geale (29-1-0).

The fight result was what I thought might be the case. I did see Barker as the better boxer of the two and he proved me right through the 12 rounds overall. In the 6th Barker was floored by a great body punch and at that point I thought it was all over. Taking a body shot that puts you on your ass is one of the worse feelings, those who have boxed and felt that shot will know. I figured he would get to his feet and be quickly over powered again and down before you could blink. To his credit he rose to his feet and quickly got back to business and saw out what was a decisive win for Barker. He may struggle if he now has to defend against the other world champions in the division but he certainly earned this title the hard way over the years and well done to him.

Britain lost and gained a world champion this weekend. What a roller coaster it was watching on Saturday. As I said at the start, none of the results really surprised me. I would have liked to believe that Cleverly could had shown us that he was holding back in previous fights and had the extra gear to go into but it wasn’t to be. I think his promoter (not for the first time) has shielded him from what the real top class level is like for many years now and suddenly threw him in with one of the top guys and Cleverly paid the ultimate price. Maybe somewhere in him he does have the potential to improve and if he was to do the sensible thing and leave his Promoter and re-establish himself by working up the levels slowly and progressively then he may reach the same heights again, we’ll have to see. In the meantime it’s Kovalev’s time at the top, well done to him and I hope to see him again soon in the ring, he is an exciting fighter to watch and just what the LH Weight Division needs right now!

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