I'll get Nathan Cleverly back to the big time, promises promoter
PROMOTER Frank Warren has promised to get Nathan Cleverly back to the big time, but admitted he was dismayed by the Welshman's tactics after his world title defeat.
Cleverly's two-and-a-half year reign as the WBO light heavyweight champion was ended at the brutal hands of Russian Sergey Kovalev at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena, the Cefn Fforest fighter, previously unbeaten in 26 contests down twice in the third and again in the fourth before the battle was stopped.
It ends any lingering hopes Cleverly had of facing the likes of American legend Bernard Hopkins and for now at least, he's set to enter a re-building period.
However, promoter Warren expects Cleverly to return to the ring in 2013.
"Nathan is very down, it's all very disappointing, especially, as stupid as it sounds, I think it was a winnable fight," Warren said.
"There was a point when I thought Nathan's speed would be the key to it, but when he got caught, square on the top of the head he didn't have his balance and he got hit going down and he didn't recover from it.
"The fight was high risk but Nathan asked for it, that was the opponent he wanted. We knew Kovalev could punch, but he's a fighter that any good fighter who uses his brain will beat him.
"But Nathan didn't seem to get going and now it's back to the drawing board. But he's 26 and there is no reason he can't comeback, worse fighters than Nathan have done that.
"He's not taken a belting, physically, that's something, that's important, his pride has taken more of a battering but he can come back, we can get him back to the top."
However, Warren was clearly perplexed by the tactics deployed by Cleverly.
"He didn't stick to the game plan, he wasn't using his jab, his speed, his accuracy enough," he said.
"Nathan's sometimes too gung-ho, I wish he wouldn't be, it's frustrating when he does that, but it's in his make-up.
"But to get him back in the mix? I don't think that will be a problem."
Kovalev's manager Kathy Duva is also confident Cleverly can return to the world title scene in the light heavyweight division.
"I think Nathan made too many comparisons to Jeff Lacy, I worked with Jeff Lacy and Sergey is not Jeff Lacy, he has so much skill and power and the defence, a lot of skill Lacy didn't have. We knew Sergey wasn't a hype job and it was part of what he wanted, to win in someone's backyard," she said.
"But Nathan can come back, he's very talented and he's very young.
"And frankly, he's very inexperienced for someone who has defended a world title five times, That's not a knock on him, but this is part of learning, finding out what your limitations are and what you have to do better and avoid.
"The plan to walk in and punch with Sergey wasn't a good one, we knew that. It's a learning exercise for him. But lots of tremendous fighters, guys who go on to be great fighters come back from defeat, it's one loss, hopefully he'll shake it off. He'll be back, I'm sure."
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