Former WBO World Super-Featherweight Champion Barry Jones says Nathan Cleverly can beat KO king Sergey Kovalev with his brain instead of brawn when they clash at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 17th August.
Jones, now a successful and popular commentator on BoxNation, talks from experience after facing the dynamite-punching Brazilian Acelino Freitas, then the unbeaten WBO World Super-Featherweight champion, in January 2000.
The Welsh hero was aiming to regain his title and stunned the boxing world when he floored Freitas – who had knocked-out all 23 opponents – in the first few seconds of the opening round and Jones had never stopped anyone in his pro career.
Freitas got back up and punished Jones for the rest of the fight dropping him six-times on route to an eighth round stoppage.
Jones says WBO World Light-Heavyweight Champion Cleverly has the brain and skills to tame the murderous punching Russian who has knocked-out 19 of 21 victims with an unbelievable 18 inside three rounds.
“My big concern is that Nathan will let his heart rule his head and want to stand and trade to prove a point on the big night. He doesn’t have to prove his chin or toughness, he did that against Tony Bellew and Karo Murat. Proving he can take a punch may be his undoing. Nathan’s got a superb pedigree and should use his skill to take apart Kovalev,” Said Jones.
“He should use his speed, reach, and range for the early rounds, and start upping the tempo in the middle rounds and then start throwing bombs with that tremendous right hand to maybe force a late stoppage,”
“I’ve been in with a big, big, puncher in Freitas and at that level you don’t realise just how hard they hit, you just can’t make a single mistake or they’ll nail you. I was proud that I dropped Freitas, but I was even prouder that I got up six times and it was my corner that pulled me out and I didn’t give up,”
He added, “The difference between my fight with Freitas and Nathan’s with Kovalev is that I never had my chin tested before Freitas whereas Nathan has. Nathan can throw so many punches and he’s got that great speed that confuses and bamboozles opponents. I genuinely think its a fight he can win, he’s got to keep his concentration of every minute of every round. Nathan has that Welsh fighting heart and toughness, it’s a risky fight but he’ll come through victorious.”
Remaining tickets, priced from £40, are available from:
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena Box Office
02920 224 488
0844 249 1000
Cleverly v Kovalev is live and exclusive in the UK on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at www.boxnation.com