Nathan Cleverly looked unprepared and overwhelmed against Sergey Kovalev this past Saturday in Cardiff, and he's reportedly considering a change of trainers, with his father Vince Cleverly serving as his trainer thus far in his pro career. Cleverly (26-1, 12 KO) says he's considering training in the United States, if indeed he decides to continue his boxing career.
Amir Khan has a suggestion: Freddie Roach. Khan, who now trains under Virgil Hunter after parting ways with Roach last year, says that Freddie could be the exact right trainer to put new confidence into Clev and help him bounce back.
"Freddie's a great trainer, very good and knows what he's talking about. He knows exactly how to build a fighter and how to put that confidence back in the fighter. ... If you look at me when I got beaten by Prescott in my first defeat, Freddie brought me back and I became a two-time world champion. I think that will be amazing for him [Cleverly] if he goes to America. It will be a big change for him in his career but I really believe it will make a big difference and he'll come back a different fighter. Nathan's got a lot of talent so I think he needs to move away and focus on himself now."
First off, it's good to see Khan give Roach some credit for all but rescuing his career, as Amir had plenty of success under Roach's care. Their split wasn't 100% amicable, but it wasn't too bad, and frankly it may have just been time for them to move on from their professional relationship. Khan wasn't getting better, and maybe there was no more Roach could do for him.
But Cleverly, 26, could definitely get some much-needed help from a trainer like Roach. There are certainly other good trainers in the States that he could look into -- Virgil Hunter, Ronnie Shields, Robert Garcia, and many more -- but Roach is still the first name that comes to mind when a fighter is looking to make some kind of big change. That's where Miguel Cotto went this year for his comeback fight after three bouts with Pedro Diaz. Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins both went to Freddie when they needed a trainer for one fight (De La Hoya against Mayweather, Hopkins against Calzaghe). Khan went to Roach in his hour of need. Star MMA fighters work with Roach. So it would hardly be surprising if Cleverly went to the Wild Card looking for his new trainer.
Personally, I think he should go with the old Team Berto, family and all. Be an assassin, Nathan.