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Cleverly worried about slipping up against Valori

Nathan CleverlyBy Scott Gilfoid: Former WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (27-1, 13 KOs) has a lot riding on his fight tonight against little known cruiserweight Alejandro Emilio Valori (15-4, 11 KOs) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK.

A loss to Valori will erase what could be a career-high payday in a rematch against Tony Bellew for later this year. Cleverly obviously wants to get to that rematch because it very well could be the last huge payday that Cleverly gets if he Valori or Bellew dismantles him in the same fashion that Sergey Kovalev did last August.

Kovalev tried Cleverly like a ragdoll in giving him a beating before the plug was finally pulled in the massacre in the 4th. Cleverly hasn’t go anywhere near a talented fighter since that loss, and you’ll still be able to say the same thing after tonight’s fight, because Valori looks to be little more than a lamb being brought in for slaughter by Cleverly.

“He [Valori] seems confident and he’s got nothing to lose so he’s going to give it a good go and I can’t afford to slip-up,” Cleverly said to the Dailymail.co.uk.

I wouldn’t say that Valori seems confident. On the contrary, he looked pretty meek and intimidated at the weigh-in when being stared down by Cleverly. Valori looks to be close 3 inches shorter than Cleverly with a physique that one could describe as being pear-shaped. If Cleverly thinks that Valori looked confident then I’m worried for Cleverly’s eyesight, because Valori looked nervous as heck during the face off with Cleverly, as he quickly turned his eyes away from the ex-WBO 175 pound champion after a brief glance. Cleverly continued to stare at Valori even when he had turned around and was facing the audience with an embarrassed look on his face.

Cleverly continued, “It’s the calm before storm really, we both have business to take care of first but this is ‘Collision Course’ – the idea is that Bellew and I both win and we get the rematch on. But until that business is done you cannot fully focus on it.

Bellew will be fighting knockout artist Julio Cesar Dos Santos on the same card in what could have the makings of an upset if Dos Santos can get to Bellew’s chin the same way that Adonis Stevenson and Valery Brudov did recently.

What would be really interesting is if promoter Eddie Hearn goes ahead and still matches Cleverly and Bellew up with each other in November or December even if they both lose tonight. That would be more than a little funny. What would Hearn title the fight? He’s calling this card “Collision course.” I guess he come up with something like “Last chance before domestic level.”


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