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Braehmer vs. Cleverly prediction


By Scott Gilfoid: Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOs) will be attempting to score a big upset tonight against the aging 37-year-old Juergen Braehmer (48-2, 35 KOs) in Germany. If there was ever a time for Cleverly to beat Braehmer, it would be now with him being older and having gone eight long years in between fighting quality opponents. Braehmer has been feasting on awful opposition since he was whipped by Hugo Hernan Garay. Braehmer will have his World Boxing Association World light heavyweight title on the line tonight.

This long spell of facing weak opposition means Braehmer will be taking a big step up in competition tonight in facing Cleverly, even though he still won’t be facing the cream of the crop in terms of talent at 175. It’s sad but Braehmer will be taking a TREMENDOUS leap up in competition from the horrible opposition he’s been getting fed by his promoters.

With the divisions being watered down with five possible world titles at stake, Braehmer was able to become a champion by beating a guy named Marcus Oliveira three years ago. Braehmer didn’t have to face a good opponent to become the WBA ‘regular’ light heavyweight strap holder. He faced a mediocre fighter. Since then, Braehmer has defended his WBA title six times in facing guys that didn’t rate as being contenders in my opinion.

Carl Froch believes that Cleverly will lose tonight, and I have a feeling he might be right.
“I do think Cleverly deserves to win, but is likely to end up losing a majority decision,” said Froch to “As far as boxing goes, I think Braehmer can punch a bit, box a bit and he does most things well and is no mug. But he is a bit one-paced and tends to lea in, mostly with the jab and sometimes with his head, which Cleverly needs to be vigilant of.”

Cleverly cannot stay on the outside and let Braehmer jab him tonight, because he doesn’t have a good enough jab to compete with the German fighter in that department. Froch is right about Braehmer coming forward with his head down. He does that a lot in his fights.

Braehmer is like a Billy Goat with the way his head is the first thing that comes forward. It makes him susceptible to getting hit with uppercuts, which is what happened in his fight against Hugo Hernan Garay in 2008. However, Cleverly doesn’t throw many uppercuts, so it’s not going to be easy for him to deal with Braehmer’s head down attacking style.

If Cleverly could nail Braehmer with uppercuts, he would teach him to keep his head up when he’s coming forward.

I think Cleverly has the boxing skills and work rate to overwork Braehmer by throwing a lot of shots, but I’m not sure that he’ll be able to do that tonight. Braehmer likes to jab and bounce around the ring with his amateur style of fighting. The way to defeat that style is to cut off the ring and not give Braehmer any room to let escape. Someone like Gennady Golovkin would be a nightmare for Braehmer, because he would be forced to fight at close quarters the entire night, and he’s not good at fighting at close range.

Braehmer needs to bounce around, jab and throw his left hand pot shots for him to do well. If Cleverly can cut off the ring and force Braehmer into a prolonged fire fight for 12 rounds, then I think he can beat him. I just don’t know if Cleverly can do that. I was fighting Braehmer, he wouldn’t get away from me. I would stay on top of him and nail him with uppercuts when he comes forward with his head.

I wouldn’t let Braehmer hold without nailing him with body shots and punches to the side of the head thrown with maximum power. I would make Braehmer think twice about holding me each time, because I would punish him badly each time he tried to hold. I don’t Cleverly has that kind of a boxing brain to keep Braehmer from using his tricks. Braehmer is a wily fox and he’s good at taking advantage of fighters with less ring IQ than himself.

It doesn’t take much brains to beat Braehmer, because we saw how easily Garay beat him eight years ago, but you have to train hard to mimic that kind of style of fighting in training camp. While I think Cleverly probably trained hard during camp to take advantage of Braehmer’s flaws, I doubt that he’ll use those tactics in the fight tonight. I believe once Cleverly gets out there in the ring tonight, he’ll revert to form and just stand there in a stationary manner and not look to cut off the ring on Braehmer.

This will make it easy on Braehmer to bounce around the ring, jabbing and pot shotting just like he always does. I suspect we’ll see Cleverly cut up before long and wind up with an eye that closes up rapidly just like we saw with his fellow countryman Enzo Maccarinelli two years ago in his 5th round stoppage loss to Braehmer.

Maccarinelli obviously knew what he needed to do for him to beat Braehmer by pressuring him and throwing a lot of punches. But instead of doing that, Maccarinelli stayed on the outside and was picked apart by Braehmer’s jabs until his left eye swelled up and caused the fight to be stopped.

A good light heavyweight like Artur Beterbiev, Adonis Stevenson or Sergey Kovalev would bludgeon Braehmer with heavy shots until the white towel of surrender was thrown into the ring by the German fighter’s corner to save his hide at some point. Unfortunately, I don’t see Cleverly as being a good fighter. I see him as a good fighter from yesterday’s 175lb division. Cleverly’s best years are way in the past, as he’s failed to improve his game with the addition of a lot of talented fighters. Instead of fighting smart, Cleverly failed to retool his game and he’s now been beaten in three out of his last six fights. I don’t know why Braehmer picked Cleverly to fight tonight instead of a top contender. All I can say is it looks like another soft title defense for Braehmer.

Prediction: Braehmer by 12 round unanimous decision over Cleverly.

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