Since I've decided to turn the "official" Bad Left Hook Fight Previews into more in-depth analysis that requires that I'm comfortably experienced enough with the fighters on hand to do all that silly grading and the like, other fights that I don't have quite as much to say about will go in another preview-type feature from now on, the Weekend Quick Picks. And there are a lot of fights to look at this week for sure.
If you're craving something better and more substantial than my short takes on these fights, head over to The Boxing Bulletin, where Dave Oakes has previews:
Nathan Cleverly-Karo Murat
Enzo Maccarinelli-Alexander Frenkel
Derek Chisora-Sam Sexton II
Kell Brook-Michael Jennings
Frank Warren's Magnificent Seven
OK, so we lost Barker-Macklin. And Rhodes-Konecny. And those were, in my view, the two best fights on paper on the entire show. This is still a ton of quality of action starting at 1pm EDT from the UK. I still can't argue with it.
Light Heavyweights, 12 Rounds
Nathan Cleverly v. Karo Murat
This was always going to be the last fight on the show, but now it is truly the main event. Cleverly (19-0, 9 KO) has emerged as one of the best young fighters in the UK. The former Enzo Calzaghe student has shot up the ranks across the pond since 2008, landing the Commonwealth, British and European titles at 175 pounds. Instead of defending the European title he won last time out against Antonio Brancalion, Cleverly is setting his sights on the world stage. He will face Murat (22-0, 13 KO) in a WBO eliminator.
What's going to be noticeable right off is the huge height advantage that Cleverly, 23, will have against the 27-year-old Murat. Murat comes in at around 5'10", while Cleverly is about 6'4". When Cleverly made his debut in 2005 at the age of 18, he weighed in at 152 pounds, but this is a kid who over the years might develop into a heavyweight.
Murat is an Armenian living in and fighting out of Germany, and he's good. He's no chump. He's faced a similar level of competition as Cleverly, and has mostly dominated just the same. Murat's biggest win is over Gabriel Campillo in 2008, when Murat was reigning as super middleweight champion, but that win is disputed, as most of Campillo's losses are.
From an overall ability standpoint, I really do think Nathan Cleverly is a superior fighter. I think he's more well-rounded, has more in his arsenal, and will go on to have the longer, better career. But this fight is certainly no gimme, and a lot of it might come down to mental maturity. Cleverly has never been pressed, and he's just 23 and out of school. Of course a lot of the reason he's never been pressed is that he's simply been much better than his opposition to date, but Murat is absolutely the best fighter he's faced to date, and Murat can punch a little, too, which Cleverly hasn't had to face much.
I do like Cleverly in this fight, and I like him to joint he elite ranks at 175 sooner than later. But I wouldn't exactly consider a Murat win to be an Upset of the Year contender, let's put it that way. Higher-regarded prospects than Cleverly have flamed out in their first real tests. If he dominates Murat, then it's time for everyone worldwide to start paying attention. Cleverly UD-12
Heavyweights, 12 Rounds, Rematch
Derek Chisora v. Sam Sexton
These two met back in 2008 when Sexton was 7-0 and Chisora was 4-0. They've both gotten better since then. Sexton (13-1, 6 KO) hasn't fought in nearly a year since beating Martin Rogan convincingly in a rematch of a controversial fight, and that was his best performance. Chisora (13-0, 8 KO) made a big theoretical leap into what was assumed to be higher competition against Danny Williams in May, lifting the British heavyweight title from the veteran. But Williams was barely alive for that fight, having trained himself and coming in grossly out of shape at 273 pounds on the scales. So neither have really had much test in 2010. They should make up for that against one another. I like Chisora's power and ferocity here. Sexton has improved since the first meeting, but his best win is over Martin Rogan, and though I don't know anyone who doesn't like Martin Rogan's story, it's not really that impressive all things considered. Chisora TKO-7
Cruiserweights, 12 Rounds
Enzo Maccarinelli v. Alexander Frenkel
Maccarinelli's European title is on the line. This is your typical Macca matchup. For Enzo, it's spark or be sparked, and Frenkel can punch, too. Maccarinelli has definitely faced better competition, but, well, that better competition has also knocked him out. The good news for Enzo is that he can knock out just about anybody if he catches them. The bad news is that his chin's as bad as his punch is good. Maccarinelli's career bounce-back has seemed so unlikely that I'm tempted to pick against him because it just feels like he shouldn't really be here given what we know about him, but I'm going with the guy to win a short firefight. What can I say? I like Enzo. Maccarinelli TKO-4
Welterweights, 12 Rounds
Kell Brook v. Michael Jennings
I've said it 100 times in the last year, and become more convinced every time this fight has been delayed. What was once a good domestic step up for Brook is now a mismatch. He is simply far, far more talented than Jennings, and it will show. This fight won't be close. Brook TKO-6
The Rest of the Magnificent Seven
I don't see any upsets on the rest of the card, which is solid but seems predictable on paper.