Cleverly vs Karpency: Nathan Cleverly Wants Unification Bout Soon

Nathan Cleverly figures to retain his WBO belt on Saturday, and after that wants a unification fight for another title. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Nathan Cleverly says he's hoping to add to his title belt collection soon with a unification bout against one of the other beltholders at light heavyweight. From Sky Sports:

"Provided we come through this in a good fashion I think there would be a unification fight not too far down the line. Fighters like (Beibut) Shumenov or (Tavoris) Cloud, I would definitely like to fight one of those guys.

"There is also the Chad Dawson against Bernard Hopkins fight coming up and I wouldn't mind facing the winner of that. I think that fight will happen in the future but I think that would be towards the back end of 2012, but that could happen in the foreseeable future."

[ Cleverly vs Karpency Preview ]

Cleverly (23-0, 11 KO) defends the WBO belt against unknown American Tommy Karpency (21-2-1, 14 KO) on Saturday in Cardiff, and figures to win without much trouble, but then we all thought he'd win without much trouble last October against Tony Bellew, and he had a few problems in that fight.

I have been intensely critical of the Cleverly vs Karpency fight since it was signed, as I find the matchup to be unbefitting a fighter who calls himself "world champion" and is of Cleverly's level, or at least the level we believe Cleverly to be. He is no worse than, at the moment, the sixth-best light heavyweight in the world, and it's a bit of a shame, really, that he's fighting someone like Karpency, who truly seems like a nice guy and has a rootable, Rocky-like story here in a way, but let's be serious, it'll be a major upset if he's so much as competitive in this fight.

As for fighting one of the titlists, there have allegedly been talks between the Cleverly and Shumenov camps in the past, and Frank Warren has said he'd like to have Cleverly face Bernard Hopkins, but Bernard has his hands full on April 28 with Chad Dawson.

I do think the Shumenov and Cloud fights would be interesting, but they're difficult to make. Cloud is promoted by Don King, who isn't going to send Tavoris to the UK for a fight, and Warren probably wouldn't be too keen to make a one-sided deal with King and send Cleverly to the States for the matchup, either. In both instances, that would be the promoter protecting the fighter, and reasonably so.

More likely than not this is just talk. Cleverly will have his WBO mandatory to take care of eventually (right now, Russia's Dmitry Sukhotsky is the No. 1-ranked challenger) and none of the fights seem to really be in the cards. If one does happen, it likely will be Shumenov.

If he can't land a unification fight, and wants to take a serious challenge, Gabriel Campillo would fit the bill, and despite tough experiences abroad, never ducks a fight.

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