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Nathan Cleverly wants rematch with Sergey Kovalev

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Nathan Cleverly has decided to fight on, and wants to do so only at the top level, as he's asking for an immediate rematch with Sergey Kovalev.

Scott Heavey

Nathan Cleverly was physically dominated by Sergey Kovalev in August, losing his WBO light heavyweight title at home in Cardiff, Wales, but after a short break from the sport, the 26-year-old fighter tells RingTV.com that he he wants a rematch with Kovalev.

"I want to become a world champion again and that would be my goal because I would never come back just to participate. I would be back to give it everything and reach the same heights that I did before. ... I want to come back in a significant fight and to be honest I want a rematch with Kovalev. I would love that fight and I would go to America for it. It's not about the money, it's about pride. We gave Kovalev the chance and I would hope that he would return the favor. I want that as my next fight."

I think without question you have to respect the bravery and the determination this statement shows. Cleverly (26-1, 12 KO) was coddled rather heavily before this fight, fighting a slate of non-contenders in title matches, but that rarely truly lies at the doorstep of the fighter, and is generally a managerial decision. He wasn't afraid to fight Kovalev (22-0-1, 20 KO) the first time, and he's not afraid to do it again.

Should that be his first fight back? That's a more difficult question. Conventional wisdom would suggest coming back for a "get-well" fight, where Clev can get his confidence back, and more likely than not I'd expect that's what we'll see. But I have to think Main Events would be open to a rematch in the States sometime next year -- it would still be good money for Kovalev, and could land back on HBO if put on the right card and packaged well.