Nathan Cleverly Vs Sergey Kovalev – 17th August 2013

Betting Preview 

WBO Light Heavyweight Title

Location – Cardiff, Wales

This is a fight that carries huge stakes for both fighters, with HBO waiting in the wings to offer the winner big paydays and the big screen in the states, forget the WBO belt you may as well put a winning jackpot lottery ticket in the middle of the ring and call it winner takes all.

The bookmakers cannot separate either fighter with both being had at evens, i think this highlights how split opinion is on the outcome of this fight. However the majority of consensus amongst the boxing community i have seen back Kovalev to stop Cleverly inside the distance.

Kovalev is a devastating puncher who has dismantled 19 of his 21 opponents inside the distance, most of them within 3 rounds, however he is yet to face an opponent with slick boxing ability such as Nathan Cleverly and while he has handled the majority of his opponents to date with relative ease this is notable step up for him.

Cleverly is the 5 time defending champion and whilst he has always done enough in the ring he has struggled to get the big fights to propel him to the limelight in what is shaping up to be a very exciting division in boxing, make no mistake this is a huge opportunity for Cleverly and will most likely define his career from here on.

Cleverly is an intelligent boxer who adopts an extremely high work rate in the ring, he isn’t a big puncher but breaks his opponents down via accumulation, he will need to keep this fight at range and stick to his boxing as if he engages too often with Kovalev, even a solid chin may not save him as Kovalev simply hits like a steam train.

However Cleverly has a fighters heart and will sometimes will engage when unnecessary to do so, and when Cleverly loses discipline he sometimes loses his defence and trading off with this fella will be a dangerous game, Cleverly has the tools to win this fight however he will need to execute them with surgical precision, nothing less. If he does i think Cleverly could actually put on a masterclass in this fight which in turn will propel himself into the big time.

Kovalev has a reputation as a puncher however he is a boxer/puncher, anyone who thinks Kovalev is a one dimensional slugger/puncher is mistaken, he has underrated technical boxing ability and ring IQ he is clever and will set up his combination and punches with thought, he rarely misses or wastes a shot.

This is such a tough fight to call because i see ways in which both fighters win this fight, i can see Cleverly either putting in a masterclass or horizontal, Cleverly has the tools but i feel to win this fight everything needs to be perfect and i have seen Cleverly get drawn into trades when he hasn’t needed to.

You see Cleverly has a fighters heart and whilst in many cases that can be a fighters saviour in this particular circumstance it may inevitably be his downfall and i think it will be.

If Cleverly can take Kovalev into the late rounds though this is a place Kovalev has never been before and we may see Cleverly break his heart down the stretch, Cleverly is actually 15/2 down at sporting bet to get the TKO/KO thats not actually a bad price considering Kovalev is relatively untested in a full 12 round fight.

However i think Kovalev will catch Cleverly at some point in this fight and it will signal the beginning of the end.

ATR’s Bet – £50 on Kovalev 10/11 Bet365 (refund in the event of a draw at Bet365) £10 on Cleverly 15/2 Sporting Bet)