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Braehmer’s promoter talks Cleverly fight


By Scott Gilfoid: Kalle Sauerland, the promoter for WBA World light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (48-2, 35 KOs), recently made an odd choice in selecting the struggling, some say ‘over-the-hill’, former WBO 175lb champion Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOs) as the German Braehmer’s next opponent for his title defense on October 1 in Germany. It was a weird choice by Sauerland for him to pick Cleverly as an opponent for Braehmer, because his career is been sagging for the last several years.

Cleverly has lost two out of his last three fights and three out of his last six. Sauerland seems to be making a fight many years too late. At the minimum, the Braehmer vs. Cleverly fight is three years late, because that’s when Cleverly’s career started going into a steep downward nosedive with him losing to Sergey Kovalev by a 4th round knockout in 2013.

Losses to Tony Bellew and Andrzej Fonfara have quickly followed for Cleverly. He’s now coming off a loss to Fonfara, and heading towards journeyman status. I don’t see the 29-year-old Clevelry being able to pull his career out of the nosedive that it’s right now, because the dvisiion has improved too much for him to do anything.

Braehmer would likely be in the same position as Cleverly right now if he’d been facing quality opposition in the last three years, but he hasn’t. If you put Braehmer in the ring with the likes of Artur Beterbiev, Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Joe Smith Jr., Andrzej Fonfara, Eleider Alvarez, Andre Ward, Dmitry Bivol, Vyacheslav Shabranskiyy, Jean Pascal, and Oleksandr Gvozdyk, he would lose his title big time. I just don’t know how or why the World Boxing Association hasn’t forced Braehmer to fight those of fighters rather than ranking weaker fighters at No.1 until recently.

“We tried to make Adonis Stevenson-Braehmer but that wasn’t going to happen. We were told we would have to fight Sergey Kovalev so we were ready to do that. Then we were told there was a mandatory,” said Sauerland to “For me, the next logical opponent was Andrzej Fonfara or Cleverly.”

I agree that Fonfara would have been the next logical opponent for Braehmer except for the fact that he was just knocked out by Joe Smith. I don’t understand why Sauerland would want to match Braehmer against Fonfara, given that he was recently knocked out in the 1st round by Joe Smith Jr. I mean, why wouldn’t the next logical opponent for Braehmer be Smith Jr. or the talented #1 Dmitry Bivol? The last time I checked, Smith Jr. and Bivol are undefeated fighters. Why wouldn’t they be “the next logical opponent” for Braehmer?

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Logic tells us that it’s better for champions to be defending against unbeaten contenders rather than fighters that were knocked out in the 1st round in their last fight like Fonfara or someone that has lost two out of his last three fights like Cleverly. I’m just saying. What kind of logic goes into matching your fighter against a guy that is coming off of a loss to Fonfara, who in turn was knocked out in the 1st round by Joe Smith Jr. My logic tells me that the guy that Braehmer should be fighting now isn’t Cleverly or Fonfara. My logic tells me that Braehmer should be fighting Smith Jr. or Bivol.

“It’s a fight people have wanted to see for five years,” Sauerland said about the Cleverly vs. Braehmer fight. “Obviously, Cleverly isn’t a world champion anymore but the interest hasn’t gone anyway.”

I think Sauerland missed the boat on the Braehmer-Cleverly fight. Yeah, the fight should have happened five years ago, but it’s past the sell date. Sometimes when you wait too long for something, you got to forget about it. Matching Braehmer against Cleverly now is like taking Braehmer back to grade school so that he can ace a test that he skipped in the past.

It’s too late to take Braehmer backwards. He needs to move forward with his career. I think this fight is an example of sad match-making. I wouldn’t do it. If Sauerland isn’t interested in matching Braehmer against talents like Bivol or Smith Jr, then he should at least be looking to match him up against Dominic Boessel, Marcus Browne, Jean Pascal, Shabranskiyy or Eleider Alvarez. Those would be good fights, would they not?

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