6:02am Monday 19th August 2013
NATHAN Cleverly could be set to split from trainer and father Vince and head to the USA in a bid to recover from his crushing defeat to Sergey Kovalev, the Argus can exclusively reveal.
Cleverly was dismantled over four uncomfortable rounds in Cardiff, the challenger Sergey Kovalev, a KO specialist with 19 stoppages in 22 fights continuing to bring the brutality as Cleverly, never of his feet as an amateur or professional was sent to the canvas three times.
In the cold light of day, there can be little doubt the former Team Calzaghe man will be left with regrets, firstly about personally chasing the Russian, but far more with the gameplan and execution on the night.
Arguably no fighter better displays the battle between brains and brawn than Cleverly. On the one hand, a Maths graduate from Cardiff University and on the other a reformed street fighter from the Cefn Fforest area. On Saturday, the brawn side fatally overtook the brain side. The in-ring results were catastrophic.
You don't have to be Freddie Roach or Enzo Calzaghe to appreciate that it was with speed and stamina Cleverly's best hope lied, imperative that he took Kovalev, who had only gone past three rounds three times in 22 outings, into unchartered territory.
Hit and move, show off your speed and work behind the jab, take the fight long, it couldn't have been simpler but Cleverly let the heart rule the head. Bravado when strategy was required.
Almost from the first bell he stood and traded with Kovalev and he was fully punished with three knockdowns either side of the bell to end the third session. Cleverly's 30-month WBO light heavyweight title reign, his unbeaten record, all crushed by 'The Crusher' Kovalev.
At 26-years old time is definitely on Cleverly's side in terms of mounting a comeback and returning to the elite of the sport, but his father and trainer Vince admits changes are now likely.
"Nathan is disappointed but he's ok, it's boxing and these things happen, look at Enzo Maccarinelli, the problems he's had and the terrific win he got on Saturday, you can come back," Vince told the Argus.
"Nathan will go away and then we'll have a talk about things, but I think you can expect to see a change of scenery for him and maybe a change of trainer.
"I think Nathan needs to be somewhere with a team environment, that could be in America, I couldn't say at this stage, but that was a plan at one point."
Cleverly feels his son took the Kovalev time too soon in his career and believes the new WBO light heavyweight champion can dominate the division.
"In hindsight it's a fight we took too soon, Nathan got some much stick from the public and he wanted to please them so he took the Kovalev fight against my wishes," he explained.
"It was Nathan's choice and I think Kovalev was just too strong and too experienced and powerful.
"I think he's the best light heavyweight in the world, he hits so hard, he's a one-off fighter."
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