Nathan Cleverly breezed through his farcical title defense today in Wales. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Nathan Cleverly's fight today in Cardiff against Tommy Karpency wasn't scheduled to be competitive, and in that sense, you can say that it really delivered. Cleverly won a mundane shutout decision, 120-108 on all three scorecards. Bad Left Hook had it the same.
Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO) took this fight as a "homecoming bout," which is a cute way of covering up what was an atrocious matchup. Karpency (21-3-1, 14 KO), the 26-year-old nurse from Pennsylvania, gave as honest an effort as he could, but was grossly overmatched here and never stood a chance. He didn't win a single minute of the fight, let alone a round, as Cleverly racked up the points on pat-a-cake punches that never seriously put Karpency in any danger, and Karpency was not nearly good enough to actually do much of anything in response.
Final punch stats from Epix saw Cleverly land 374 of 987 punches, for a 38% connect rate, compared to Karpency's pathetic 87 punches landed in 692 thrown, a paltry 13% connect rate.
Hopefully, we'll see Cleverly, 25, take on someone more suited to the level he's been hyped at in his next bout, because right now, his WBO light heavyweight belt is among the thinnest of the paper championships in all of boxing. When you consider that his best world title fight has been against the mediocre Tony Bellew, it starts sinking in how lousy this reign is shaping up to be. When you consider how much trouble Cleverly had with Bellew, it starts sinking in why they're not exactly taking risks with the Welshman.
Cleverly is a good boxer. He's talented. But there are a lot of questions remaining about his real upside, and not just the upside his promoter is pushing.