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Juergen Braehmer vs. Nathan Cleverly this Saturday

Jurgen Brahmer Nathan Cleverly

By Scott Gilfoid: The struggling fringe contender Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOs) will be getting an arguably undeserved world title shot this Saturday night against World Boxing Association “regular” light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (48-2, 35 KOs) on October 1 at the Jahnsportforum, Neubrandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

Cleverly has done nothing to deserve a title shot unless you consider losing three out of his last six fights as deserving a shot at a world title. Cleverly was beaten in his last fight by Andrej Fonfara last October. Before that defeat, Cleverly had lot to Tony Bellew and Sergey Kovalev in the last three years.

Cleverly’s only wins in the last three years were against obscure 2nd tier fighters Tomas Mann, Alejandro Emilio Valoria and Shawn Corbin.
“I’m hungry, I ­really want this fight and I really want this victory. I just feel the time is right now and I feel in a better state going into this fight second time round,” said Cleverly to the mirror.co.uk.

I cannot see Cleverly beating Braehmer, I really can’t. The way Cleverly has looked recently in his losses to Fonfara and Tony Bellew, I just do not see him having the talent to beat Brahmer. A lot of boxing fans see Braehmer as little more than a paper champion.

I’m not going to disagree with that view, as I have not been impressed with Braehmer at all with the way he’s looked during his three years as the WBA champion, and I’ve been even less impressed with the horrific match-making that’s been done for Brahemer by his management. There’s no risk taking by Braehmer with him fighting good opponents in his time as the WBA champion, and the Cleverly fight is more continuation of that. Why else would you explain Braehmer fighting a challenger with three losses in his last six fights.

Cleverly and Braehmer were supposed to face each other five years ago when Braehmer was the WBO 175lb strap holder, and Cleverly was the challenger. Braehmer suffered an injury, and wound up being stripped of his World Boxing Organization strap in May 2011. Cleverly was then given the WBO title outside of the ring rather than inside it. Cleverly would hold onto his WBO title for two years in defending it successfully five times against weak opposition until losing it to Kovalev in 2013.

Well, if Cleverly can’t beat the 37-year-old Braehmer, then I don’t know who he can beat. At this point in Cleverly’s career, I think he’s heading towards the last chance saloon. I’m just saying. Who can Cleverly beat at 175 in terms of world champions? We already saw Cleverly fail miserably in his 4th round knockout loss to Kovalev in August 2013. That was a pure wipeout of the highest order. The fight was competitive for about all of one round. By the 2nd round, Cleverly was beginning to take punishment from Kovalev.

In the 3rd round, Cleverly was knocked down twice. It was so bad that referee Terry O’Connor had to help Cleverly back to his corner at the end of the third following a knockdown. Who can forge the sight of O’Connor appearing to support Cleverly and walk him back to his corner. I’ve never seen anything like that before or since. It was just so sad. The fight, which some had thought would be competitive, was a full scale route by the 3rd. The massacre finally ended in the 4th round after Kovalev landed a series of huge shots to the head of the defenseless Cleverly.

“He is 37 now, he has had a great a career and I ­respect him for that. But there comes a time when the older champion has to move aside to allow the younger lion to come through,” said Cleverly about Braehmer.

I wouldn’t say that Braehmer has had a great career. To be considered a great fighter, you have to beat great opponents. I don’t see anyone on Braehmer’s resume that you can consider a great fighter. He’s a two-time world champion, but he never beat anyone good during his entire pro career in my view. In Braehmer’s first time as champion, he was given the WBO 175lb title outside of the ring after the previous champion was stropped in November 2009.

Braehmer then beat the following fighters before he himself was stripped of his WBO title for failing to fight Cleverly: Dmitry Sukhotsky and Mariano Nicholas Plotinsky. In December 2013, Braehmer defeated Marcus Oliveira to capture the vacant WBA World light heavyweight title. Since that time, Braehmer has beaten the following contenders: Enco Maccarinelli, Roberto Feliciano Bolonti, Pawel Glazewski, Robin Krasniqi, Robin Krasniqi, Konni Konrad and Eduard Gutknecht.

I hate to say it, but these are the type of fighters that you would expect Braehmer to be fighting if he were the European light heavyweight champion rather than the WBA belt holder. You can’t blame Braehmer for making a bunch of soft defenses against weak opposition.

If the WBA had their act together, they would have had quality contenders ranked in the No.1 ages ago like Artur Beterbiev, Andre Ward, Jean Pascal, and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. If Braehmer had to fight any of those guys, I think he would have lost his WBA title many times over by now. It’s just been very, very fortunate for Braehmer that the WBA has ranked weak opposition rather than high caliber fighters capable of beating Braehmer.


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