I'm going to give credit where credit is due and applaud the WBO for stepping in an stopping Frank Warren's strategic ploy. Warren is known for quite frankly what most promoters are known for and that's feeding his meal ticket aka champion fighters who would otherwise never sniff the air inside a venue holding a championship boxing match much less be one of the boxers in the ring for a title fight. Last month it was Tommy Karpency who despite that sort of Rudy background and underdog charm, simply could not overcome the class and work rate of a world champion. But that's ultimately the question we're asking about 24 year old Welshman Nathan Cleverly. Is he really the legitimate WBO light heavyweight champion of the world? Wasn't there a wee bit too much politicking and not enough fighting en route to Clev holding the title? First it was Braehmer, then it wasn't Braehmer, then it was some guy whose name I forgot, then it wasn't that guy, then it was a guy from Poland, then it wasn't, then it was, you get the picture I hope.
Cleverly is as Scott Christ suggested a paper champion. I don't know if you could argue otherwise; I don't know if his fellow countryman could argue otherwise. The one true test he had came from a guy in Tony Bellew who at best is a long time European champion but not necessarily a world champion. I like Bellew and I like the way he fights but he loses to any of the top light heavyweights in the world and yet he gave Nathan a fit.
But here's where things get interesting and if you're like me and you aren't all that convinced that Nathan is as good as his dad and Frank Warren, and Steve Bunce for that matter say he is, you'll find this bit of info annoying. I read a quote from an interview before the Karpency fight where Nathan was talking trash directed toward Tavoris Cloud and Bernard Hopkins. He was inferring that Hopkins was old by saying if B-Hop can stay awake past his bedtime he should tune into his fight with Karpency and something to the effect of he and Cloud should be afraid or something like that. And yet the one thing that stood out and continues to stand out as the obvious elephant in the room is the fact that both Frank Warren and Nathan Cleverly call out every light heavyweight in the world not name Chad Dawson.
It's gotten to the point where Warren admitted that even if Hopkins loses to Chad Dawson in their rematch on April 28th he'll still make the fight between Ex and Nathan Cleverly. So I'm a bit confused here, Vince Cleverly said Nathan was the best light heavyweight in the world, Frank Warren said Nathan is ready for the top light heavyweights for a unification bout in the summer, Nathan talks trash and yet Frank Warren openly admitted they would in effect duck Chad Dawson even though Frank, Nathan, and Vince said they would want the winner of the rematch between Dawson and Hopkins?
And that's all you need to know about this entire situation. You have in Cleverly a guy who I never thought was anything but a top tier European level fighter who was literally given a gift wrapped world title after a rather bizarre set of circumstances involving his initial opponent Jurgen Braehmer.
And what makes things worse is this desire to use Bernard Hopkins as a prop in the "coming out" party for Nathan. Even if B-Hop loses they'll still make that fight. Why not just fight Dawson and actually I don't know prove that you deserve the WBO version of the light heavyweight title? But that's asking too much, that's asking Nathan to take a fight he knows he'll probably lose. Not only that there's a less likely chance of getting exposed against Bernard Hopkins or Tavoris Cloud than against the guy most feel is the true talent in the light heavyweight division Chad Dawson.
So what do you guys think? If Chad Dawson beats Bernard in the rematch will Cleverly avoid that fight and if not what chance do you give him against Chad Dawson?