Braehmer wants Kovalev or Stevenson after Cleverly

By Boxing News - 09/27/2016 - Comments


By Scott Gilfoid: WBA World light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer is looking past 29-year-old Nathan Cleverly for their fight this Saturday night in Germany. After fighting for 17 years as a pro and still without one career defining fight on his entire resume, Braehmer is saying he would like to fight either WBC champion Adonis Stevenson or IBF/WBA/WBO 175lb champion Sergey Kovalev.

Braehmer says he’d like to fight one or both of those guys before he wraps up his long career. At 37, Braehmer says he’s beating guys 10 years younger than himself. This is true. Braehmer is beating younger guys. However, he’s not being tested at all due to the younger guys being largely mediocre fighters and not the quality young guys like Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr. or Andre Ward.

The young guys that Braehmer has been beating are fighters like Konni Konrad, Pawel Glazewski, Robin Krasniqi, Eduard Guknecht and Roberto Feliano Bolonti. Those aren’t good fighters in my opinion, and I don’t think any of them should be ranked in the top 100 in the light heavyweight division, let alone in the top 15.

The World Boxing Association recently had Krasniqi ranked #1 with their organization despite him not having beaten anyone that you can call a good fighter.

“This is another defence of my title and as long as I can contend with guys ten years my junior, I will keep on going, I’m showing no signs of stopping,” said Braehmer to “Hopefully, after I beat Cleverly we can contact one of those other champions and get something finalized. It would be a shame for me to finish my career without getting that big opportunity.”

I don’t see Braehmer (48-2, 35 KOs) fighting Stevenson or Kovalev in this lifetime, but I can definitely understand why he might want to name drop their names. I’m sure Braehmer gets a lot of attention from the boxing media in Germany when he says he wants to fight Kovalev and Stevenson. Unfortunately, I don’t see Braehmer ever fighting either of them, at least not while he’s the WBA “regular” champion.

Braehmer has a good thing going for him in being able to beat one obscure contender after another. The WBA has made it easy for Braehmer to do this with them ranking guys like Krasniqi, Konrad and Bolonti near or at the top of their top 15 rankings. With those kinds of fighters ranked highly by the WBA, Braehmer literally could stay the WBA champion into his 40s. All that will change if the WBA ranks the talented fighters in the light heavyweight division like Artur Beterbiev, Andre Ward or Joe Smith at NO.1 instead of guys like Krasniqi.

Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOs) doesn’t have any chance of winning this fight on Saturday in my opinion. Braehmer is stronger, faster, more skilled, and he’s fighting at home in Germany in front of his boxing fans. The two fighters were supposed to face each other five years ago in 2011, when Braehmer was the WBO champion. I think Braehmer would have easily won that fight. I don’t see anything changing with them facing each other on Saturday.

Cleverly doesn’t have the power to beat Braehmer, and I think he’s taken too much punishment over the years. Cleverly isn’t the same fighter he was back in 2011. Cleverly’s 3-3 record in his last six fights shows that he’s not the same fighter. I’m not sure why Braehmer chose to fight Cleverly at this point in his career, because it’s not every day that you see a champion defending his title against a fighter with a record like Cleverly in his last six fights.

It would be big news if Braehmer were to take on Stevenson or Kovalev after he makes easy work of Cleverly, but I just can’t see it. If you look at the soft opposition that Braehmer has been fighting during his career, I cannot picture him braking from his habit of going the easy route and facing someone good like Stevenson or Kovalev. It’s too much of a departure for Braehmer from the guys he’s been feasting on. Stevenson and Kovalev can actually fight. They’re not like the fodder that Braehmer has been fighting, especially lately since he became the WBA “regular” strap holder.