Arguably the best, most evenly matched fight taking place on tomorrow’s big bill in Las Vegas – topped by you know what – the light-heavyweight clash between Nathan Cleverly and Badou Jack is not actually the fight Jack, who is moving up from 168, thought he’d be fighting.
Talking to RingTV.com, former super-middleweight champ Jack, 21-1-2(12) said the original plan was to face reigning WBC light-heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson; not WBA champ Cleverly.
“The original plan all along was to fight Adonis Stevenson and that plan was even before the fight with James DeGale,” Jack said. “We haven’t negotiated but it seems he (Stevenson) doesn’t want to fight the top guys.”
While a Stevenson-Jack fight would have made a nice addition to tomorrow’s card, what we do have between Welshman Cleverly and Swedish-born, Vegas-based Jack is a very good quality match-up by itself. Jack is coming off a tough, exciting draw with DeGale, while Cleverly, 30-3(16) is coming off a slugfest with Juergen Braehmer, which “Clev” won to take the belt he now defends for the first time against 33 year old Jack.
Both men are very confident going into tomorrow’s fight, but Jack is also looking ahead.
“I want the big money fights,” he told Ring. “I want to get paid and test myself against the best. Adonis is one of the best. I heard that Andre Ward might leave the division. But he’s the best pound for pound fighter in the world so that should be everybody’s goal to fight him. It’s not everyone’s but it should be. I’d love to fight him because he’s the best.”
As admirable as Jack’s attitude is, he has the task at hand to take care of first, and 30 year old Cleverly does not figure to go easily or give up his belt without a hard, hard fight. In fact, the seasoned light-heavy has vowed to “welcome” Jack to the 175 pound weight class. Stopped only by Sergey Kovalev, Cleverly has a good chin, great stamina, fast hands and a high work-rate.
Tomorrow’s 175 pound showdown could easily be viewed as a 50/50 fight. It’s also a very good match-up that makes you want to pay the £20 ($100) to see the whole, monstrously hyped show that will go down tomorrow night in Vegas.