Cleverly can be better than ever, ex-trainer says
9:02am Thursday 22nd August 2013 in Sport
NATHAN Cleverly can return better than ever, but first he must lick his wounds and restore his machismo, according to legendary trainer Enzo Calzaghe.
The 26-year old Cefn Fforest fighter lost his WBO light heavyweight world title on Saturday at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, heavy-hitting Russian Sergey Kovalev inflicting a first career defeat for Cleverly with a fourth round stoppage.
Calzaghe, the father and trainer of legendary boxer Joe Calzaghe, used to train Cleverly before he switched to work with his father Vince Cleverly.
Therefore the popular Sardinian knows Cleverly extremely well and believes it’s only a matter of time before he’s back among the elite in the sport.
“The first thing I’d advise Nathan to do and I’m pleased to see him doing it off his own bat, is having a break, he needs to get away and re-charge the batteries,” Calzaghe told the Argus.
“I won’t condemn Nathan for being beaten, all fighters lose, one in a million can have an undefeated career.
“Nathan will take time out, have this passage of contemplation and then I expect to see him back, better than ever. He’s a top fighter and will be again, but we didn’t see the real Nathan Cleverly on Saturday.
“Sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen to a fighter. I expect it will have that effect on Nathan.”
Calzaghe is critical of the Cleverly game plan for the fight, believing he never gave himself a chance.
“Nathan Cleverly is a speed merchant, like Joe Calzaghe or Gavin Rees, but we never saw one second of that against Kovalev,” he said.
“He should have roared out of the blocks, throwing double-jabs and punches in bunches, imposing himself, but he didn’t.
“It felt like 20 punches from Kovalev and one or two back from Nathan and he lost the first couple of rounds.
“From minute one he seemed tentative to me, like he wasn’t sure what the best strategy was.”
Calzaghe, however, believes Cleverly should resist talk about potentially switching trainers, insisting the issues facing Nathan are ones he alone can address.
“He could go and train in Timbuktu, that doesn’t matter, what matters is that he goes back to training and preparing with the hunger of a contender, not as a champion,” he said.
“Nathan’s hunger and desire has to be there or all the skills in the world won’t matter. But I have no doubts about his skills or his heart, a rest is all he needs.”
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