Badou Jack vs. Nathan Cleverly – Results
By Sean Jones: Former super middleweight champion Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) trounced WBA World light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (30-4, 16 KOs) in stopping him in the 5th round on Saturday night on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor card on Showtime pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jack, 33, battered Cleverly, bloodying his nose and hitting him at will until referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the slaughter at 2:47 of round 5. Cleverly was just covering up, taking shots and not letting his hands go nearly enough to keep Jack off him.
Cleverly literally couldn’t force Jack to stay on the outside. Jack was continually nailing Cleverly with power shots on the inside, and working him over with punches to the head and body. Part of the problem for Cleverly was he refused to use movement. He stood there in front of Jack, inviting problems.
In round 4, Cleverly looked like he was ready to be stopped Jack. Cleverly’s nose was badly swollen and bleeding constantly. Jack was teeing off on him. The fight should have been stopped after the 4th round, but instead Cleverly’s corner let him come out for round 5. What a mistake that was.
In round 5, Jack unloaded on Cleverly with everything he had, hitting repeatedly in his face without him blocking any of the shots. Finally, referee Tony Weeks did the right thing in stepping in and stopping the contest to save Cleverly from being knocked out in the clinical sense. It was a good stoppage.
“I want Adonis Stevenson next, unless he’s fighting a trilogy with Andrzej Fonfara,” said Jack after the fight.
It’s nice for Jack to dream, isn’t it? Jack’s chances of getting a fight against WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson are probably low. Jack should call out Andre Ward, but it’s unlikely he’ll get a fight against him either. Jack isn’t a big name, and there’s no real money in a fight against him. Ward is interested in fighting cruiserweight Tony Bellew or IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
The loss for Cleverly was a disappointing one, as he had recently resurrected his boxing career recently with a 6th round injury stoppage win over Juergen Braehmer on October 1 last year. Going into that fight Cleverly had lost 2 out of his last 3 fights. At this point I wouldn’t say that Cleverly is over-the-hill. I think it’s more of a case of the 175-lb. division having gotten a lot better since Cleverly first held the WBO light heavyweight title 7 years ago in 2010.
Cleverly had a nice 3-year run as the 175-lb. champion until getting stopped in the 4th round by Sergey Kovalev in 2013. Cleverly met up with someone with too much power for him in Kovalev, and he fought the wrong fight by electing to brawl with the Russian fighter. That’s the same thing Cleverly did tonight against Jack. Instead of boxing and moving from the outside, Cleverly stood in front of Jack and chose to slug. It was a total disaster, because he didn’t have the punching power, work rate or the defensive skills to compete against him with that kind of style.
Cleverly should think about either moving down to 168 or retiring. I don’t see him having the talent or the power to make anything happen at 175 any longer. The division is now too stacked for Cleverly to win another world title in my opinion, and I think it’s time for him to think about retiring or moving down in weight. I’m not sure if Cleverly can make it down to the 168lb division. He needs to think about it before he gets hurt by saying at 175.