Bellew thinks Cleverly can beat Braehmer
By Scott Gilfoid: Tony Bellew believes that #10 WBA Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOs) can pull off the upset against WBA World light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (48-2, 35 KOs) in their fight this Saturday night at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Germany. Bellew thinks the 29-year-old Cleverly has the talent to beat the 37-year-old Braehmer and importantly the work rate to outwork the German.
What Bellew isn’t sure about is whether Cleverly has the desire to do what he needs to do for him to get the win. In other words, Bellew questions whether Cleverly is ready to put it on the line to fight a grueling match to get the win.
With Cleverly not being a big puncher, his only chance of beating Braehmer is to get in front of his face and unload a storm of punches for 12 rounds to to try and get the win. This means that Cleverly is going to get hit a lot in the fight.
“He’s not an elite level fighter but he has got the tools to beat Braehmer but whether he’s willing to put it on the line is another story,” said Bellew to skysports.com about Cleverly.
Well, I think you can make the same argument about Bellew not being elite. Yeah, Cleverly isn’t elite, but neither if Bellew. They’re both about the same talent-wise. You can’t throw Bellew in the ring with guys like Oleksandr Usyk and expect him to win. Cleverly “put it on the line” against his last opponent Andrzej Fonfara in losing a 12 round decision last October. However, Fonfara was there to be hit and he stood in front of Cleverly all night long. With Braehmer, he’ll be bouncing around the ring with his amateur style of fighting, throwing jabs and pot shots with his left hand. The best way to defeat Braehmer’s amateur style is to jump on him, not give him any space to pot shot, and force him into a war for 12 rounds.
Braehmer isn’t a big puncher in close. He needs room to throw punches. If Cleverly can keep Braehmer from bouncing around the ring all night, then he’s going to give the German huge problems on Saturday. Braehmer has always been a very, very beatable fighter from day one since turning pro, but he’s been matched carefully by his German handlers and never put in with talented guys that could expose his amateur style. The only reason they were able to do this was because of the light heavyweight division being so watered down with the talent being spaced out amount the four sanctioning bodies. It hasn’t hurt that the World Boxing Association hasn’t forced Braehmer to fight any of the good light heavyweights like Artur Beterbiev or Andre Ward.
“He is the challenger and he’s not the mandatory challenger either so he must be going out there with the belief that he can beat him,” said Bellew about Cleverly.” And as I said, depending on how much he wants it, he has the capability of beating him. He can definitely out-work him.”
Nathan lost to Bellew in their rematch in November 2014. It was not a good performance by Cleverly, as he fought like he wasn’t willing to get hit. Bellew didn’t look good either. He was the same Bellew as always. He only won the fight because Cleverly wasn’t fighting hard.
Brahmer and Cleverly clearly aren’t the best in the 175lb division or even the fifth best. This is just a simple fight involving a paper champion and an aging former paper champion. It’s interesting for me to watch as a spectacle, but I don’t see the winner of the fight being revelent in the light heavyweight division. If Cleverly beats Braehmer, then we’re just going to have a new paper champion.