NATHAN Cleverly sees him as a stepping stone but Shawn Corbin is warning the Cefn Fforest ace that tomorrow’s showdown in Cardiff could be his first and last at cruiserweight.
Former light-heavyweight world champion Cleverly returns to the ring nine months to the day since his crushing defeat to Sergey Kovalev.
And he and promoter Eddie Hearn are already targeting a battle of Britain rematch against bitter rival Tony Bellew in November.
But Corbin has other ideas, slamming Cleverly’s lack of power and ‘decaying jaw’ and promising to stop him in his tracks, just like Kovalev did last August.
“I did not know much about Nathan Cleverly until I got the call, but I have watched a few of his fights on the internet,” said the 39-year-old veteran from Trinidad & Tobago.
“He was tested by Kovalev and it showed to me he had a decaying jaw.
“Now he is going to be put to the test again in a different weight class where the guys are much bigger and stronger, we'll see what he has.
“Maybe he sees me as a stepping stone but I am a stone above him so we will see how that works out.
“He has shown me disrespect by calling me a stepping stone and he is going to pay for that on Saturday night.
“He does lack power,” he added. “He will be telling himself he can make it at the weight and he has the right to give it a try. I wish him the best of luck but I am going to be victorious.
“I am not worried about his boxing skills. I am a better fighter than he is. He is 13 years younger than me but I don't think age matters. Experience is what counts.”
Cleverly knows there are question marks against him following the Kovalev disaster but he’s convinced he can succeed at the new weight.
“Moving up to cruiserweight is risky; I’m going to be coming up against some big guys,” he admitted.
“But ultimately I feel good at the weight as well. I feel strong and I’ve got more energy at this weight. The cruiserweights will struggle with my strength.
“It’s a tough ask,” he added. “These are big guys and they can take a big punch. They’re going to be strong but if I bring my assets up – my speed – and with the additional weight I think I can be successful.”
And that will inevitably lead to a rematch with Bellew in Liverpool.
“I think that fight is fairly inevitable,” said Cleverly.
“It’s been talked of for a long time but in the meantime I’ve got to win Saturday and probably one more fight in between.
“It’s important that I win in style and that fight will happen. We’re on collision course.”