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Juergen Braehmer fights Nathan Cleverly on Oct.1

Jurgen Brahmer Nathan Cleverly

By Scott Gilfoid: Despite having lost two out of his last three fights, former WBO 175lb champion Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOS) will be getting a title shot against WBA World light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (48-2, 35 KOs) on October 1 at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Germany.

Cleverly, 29, was beaten in his last fight by Andrzej Fonfara by a 12 round unanimous decision last October in Chicago, Illinois. In November 2014, Cleverly was beaten by Tony Bellew by a 12 round split decision. Cleverly’s only win in the last two years was against journeyman Tomas Man last year in May 2015.

Cleverly’s promoter Eddie Hearn thinks he can beat Braehmer. I don’t agree at all. Cleverly is a decent fringe level guy, but he doesn’t have enough pop in his punches to beat Braehmer.

Had the two of them fought in the past, I think Cleverly would have had a chance of unseating him, but I don’t see it happening now. Cleverly has gone downhill since his 4th round knockout loss to Sergey Kovalev in 2013.

“I’m delighted to deliver a World title shot for Nathan in a fight that has been many years in the making,” said Hearn. “After his fight of the year contender with Fonfara we have been looking at the big fights only and Braehmer was always the target, it’s a fight that Nathan fancies and has wanted for a long time – I believe that on October 1, Britain will have ANOTHER World champion.”

Nah, I can’t see Cleverly beating Braehmer. No way do I see Cleverly beating the German fighter. I just think it’s so, so sad that Cleverly getting a title shot after losing 2 out of his last 3 fights. If this was the NFl, Cleverly would be getting a shot at going to the Super Bowl after having lost in the Championship game. That’s just wrong. Only in boxing you see a fighter getting a shot at a world title after losing two out of his last three fights. I think it sends the wrong message to fans, as well as to the contenders that have been toiling away for years waiting for a title shot.

The Cleverly vs. Braehmer fight comes five years too late, as the two of them were supposed to fight each other back in 2011, when Braehmer was the WBO light heavyweight champion. However, he was stripped of his WBO title by the World Boxing Organization after he suffered an injury that prevented him from facing Cleverly.

It’s really not all that surprising that the 37-year-old Braehmer is fighting Cleverly, because he’s running out of time as the WBA 175lb champion, as the division is getting better and the WBA’s rankings are finally improving after the last three years.

The WBA ordered negotiations for a fight between Braehmer and WBA Super light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. The two fighters have 30 days to negotiate a fight, which will have to take place in 2017 due to Kovalev already scheduled to face Andre Ward on November 19. Besides the Kovalev fight breathing down Braehmer’s neck, he’s got the following contenders that are circling him and waiting to knock him off:

1. Dmitry Bivol

2. Andre Ward

3. Artur Beterbiev

4. Sullivan Barrera

5. Joe Smith Jr.

6. Marcus Browne

I can’t see Braehmer beating Bivol, Ward, Beterbiev or Smith. Barrera is beatable, but he’s ranked below Bivol, Ward and Beterbiev. None of this really matters though, because if Braehmer does face Kovalev in 2017, then I see him losing badly to the Russian fighter.
Braehmer, 37, hasn’t exactly been working hard at fighting the best contenders since he picked up the WBA strap in 2013. To say that Braehmer has been taking the easy path as the WBA champion is putting it lightly. The German fighter has faced no one of danger to him since he won the WBA title in 2013 in beating Marcus Oliveira.

Here are the contenders that Braehmer has beaten since winning his WBA title:

Eduard Gutknecht

Robin Krasniqi

Konni Konrad

Pawel Glazewski

Enzo Maccarinelli

Roberto Bolonti

It’s hard for me to even picture those guys as actual contenders. The fact that Braehmer has defended his WBA title against those fighters is sad. When you look at all the talented fighters in the WBA division, it’s depressing that a champion would choose to defend against those fighters. The WBA has made it easy on Braehmer by them failing to rank the more talented contenders at the very top of the division. Had the WBA ranked guys like Ward or Beterbiev at No1 a long time ago, Braehmer would have likely lost his title in 2014. Instead, we’re going to see Braehmer take another easy fight against Cleverly and perhaps another one in early 2017 before he’s forced to make a decision whether he should fight the winner of the Kovalev vs. Ward fight.

I think Cleverly will give it his best try against Braehmer, but in the end, he’ll come up short and lose. Braehmer will hold onto his WBA title for a little while longer before he’s with the decision whether to accept the fight against the winner of the Kovalev-Ward match or to decline and give up his WBA title.

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