Cleverly vs. Jack: Nathan sounding overconfident
By Scott Gilfoid: WBA World light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs) thinks former 168 lb. world champion Badou Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs) lacks the required experience in the 175 lb. division for him to win on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jack, 33, will be making the move up to light heavyweight against Cleverly in his first fight in that weight class. The World Boxing Association didn’t have any problems with Jack going straight to the head of the line despite him never having fought in that weight class.
Cleverly vs. Jack will be fighting on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor event this Saturday night on Showtime PPV at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The start time for the Pay-per-view fight card begins at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets for the fight are still on sale, which suggest that they were priced a little too high. You can expect those tickets to be snatched up at the last second by the buyers, especially if the price drops in order for the tickets to be sold.
Cleverly, 30, is making a big deal about Badou never having fought at light heavyweight before. He thinks that it’ll be too much of a jump up in weight for Badou to handle the new division without any experience in the weight class. The reality is the 2 weight classes are so close in weight that it won’t be a big deal at all for the 33-year-old Jack to deal with the 7 lb. difference in weight between the two divisions.
For all intents and purposes, Jack has been a light heavyweight for at least 2 years. He’s had to drop a lot of weight to fight at super middleweight, which is arguably one of the reasons why he’s done so well in that weight class. After Jack would rehydrate for his fights in the 168 lb. division, he would have a size advantage over his opposition, and that helped him win a lot of fights that he might have otherwise lost if he were a true 168 lb. fighter. Regrettably, Jack couldn’t keep making the 168 lb. limit. After all these years of boiling down to make the weight limit for the super middleweight division, Jack could no longer do it without draining himself, and that’s why he’s finally moved up in weight. Jack should be a lot stronger at 175 than he was at 168. I think it’s going to end badly for Cleverly if Jack is 25% stronger at 175 than he was at 168. Jack should have made the move up in weight 2 years ago instead of staying put at super middleweight and fighting below his capabilities against Lucian Bute, George Groves and James DeGale.
“Badou Jack is a tough fighter, very good fighter,” said Cleverly to Fight News. It’s going to be tough fight but he’s new to the light heavyweight division and he’s fighting an established light heavyweight in myself. Eighth world title fight, two-time champion of the world, and he’s going to see why. He’s going to find out the hard way why I’m champion of the world!”
Cleverly needs to have some ideas to fall back on if his Plan-A doesn’t work for him on Saturday night. We pretty much know what Cleverly’s Plan-A game plan will be for the fight against Jack on Saturday. Nathan will be looking to beat Jack with high volume punching like he did in his last fight against Juergen Braehmer. Cleverly always fights like that though. There’s no real difference in any of Cleverly’s fights. Cleverly is not someone that gives his opponents different looks. He comes out with one game plan and that’s to try and land more punches than his opponent can withstand. When that game plan fails to work, Cleverly winds up getting beaten.
In Cleverly’s 4th round TKO loss to Sergey Kovalev in 2013, it was obvious from the first minute of round 1 that he needed to box the Russian fighter, stay on the outside and jab for 12 rounds. So, what did Cleverly do? He went out there and tried to slug it out with Kovalev, and he wound up getting battered, dropped and ultimately knocked out. Cleverly tried the same bit in his fight against the hard hitting Andrzej Fonfara and ended up losing a 12 round unanimous decision in their fight on October 16, 2015. That’s another fight that Cleverly would have had a chance of winning if he stayed on the outside and jabbed the hard-hitting Polish fighter.
Cleverly says he’s going to give Jack “a hard introduction to what a light heavyweight world champion can do.”
Oh brother. Cleverly is making a big mistake in giving Jack the newbie treatment. Jack is not a newbie. He’s a former world champion. Cleverly sounds like he wants to go out there and try and beat Jack by out-hitting him. I guess that’s the only real chance Cleverly has of winning this fight. I hate to say it, but if Cleverly stays on the outside and boxes Badou, he’s going to end up losing rounds due to the Swedish fighter’s harder shots.
If the judges have to decide whether to give the rounds to the fighter that’s landing the harder but fewer shots or the guy that is mainly throwing jabs, I think it’s likely they’ll pick the fighter that is connecting with the cleaner punches. That means Jack will be the one that will win the rounds.
The results of Cleverly’s last 7 fights have been as such:
– Sergey Kovalev – loss by TKO 4
– Shawn Corbin – TKO 2
– Alejandro Emilio Vilori – TKO 4
– Tony Bellew – SD 12 round loss
– Tomas Man – TKO 1
– Andrzej Fonfara – UD 12 loss
– Juergen Braehmer – RTD 6
Those fights account for the last 4 years of Cleverly’s pro career. He’s only beaten one good fighter in the last 4 years, and that was his win over the 38-year-old Braehmer. Heck, the only reason why Cleverly won that fight was because Braehmer suffered an arm injury that caused him to quit on his stool after round 6. Braehmer was winning the fight on all 3 judges’ scorecards, and he was on his way to winning the fight. This suggests that Cleverly is not that good of a fighter in the 175 lb. division.
5 years ago when the light heavyweight division was weak, Cleverly was one of the best fighters in the division. Right now, I don’t think Nathan is even a top 10 fighter at 175.
I rate Cleverly behind these fighters at 175:
1. Adonis Stevenson
2. Andre Ward
3. Artur Beterbiev
4. Dmitry Bivol
5. Sullivan Barrera
6. Eleider Alvarez
7. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
8. Marcus Browne
9. Andrzej Fonfara
10. Badou Jack
11. Sergey Kovalev
12. Joe Smith Jr.
13. Juergen Braehmer
14. Nathan Cleverly
There’s nothing wrong with Cleverly being ranked at No.14 at light heavyweight. It means he’s one of the best at that weight class, but I don’t think he deserves to be the WBA World 175 lb. champion. I see Cleverly as a paper champion. That’s why it’s hilarious that Cleverly is giving Jack the newbie treatment, as if he doesn’t belong in the weight class. I don’t think Cleverly belongs at 175. The guy should move down to 168, because I think he’d be a much better fighter in that weight class than he is at 175.
“Welcome to the light heavyweight division,” said Cleverly in revealing what he told Jack during their face off during the final press conference on Wednesday.