Juergen Braehmer vs. Nathan Cleverly Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Where: Jahnsportforum, Neubrandenburg, Germany
Weight Class: Light Heavyweights
Titles: WBA Light Heavyweight Championship
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Juergen Braehmer, 48-2 (35 KOs), Schwerin, Germany
Nathan Cleverly, 29-3 (15 KOs), Cefn Forest, Wales
Betting Odds: Juergen Braehmer (-250), Nathan Cleverly (+190)
Juergen Brahemer defends his WBA light heavyweight belt against former WBO champion Nathan Cleverly on October 1 in Germany. The German champion is 48-2, a pro since 1999 who is now 37 years old. He hasn't lost in 8 years. Still, he looks to have his hands full with the accomplished Welshman Cleverly, a 29-year old with a lot of talent looking to get back towards the top of the division. Who comes out on top on October 1?
It's hard to be a fan of Braehmer and we can't bet with our hearts. It's just a little galling how he has managed to identify himself as a "champion" for so long, despite not really having the credentials to warrant it. On the surface, you see a guy who is 48-2 with 10 world title fights in his rear-view, you'd think he was the real deal. While a major talent, it's actually questionable whether he has ever beaten a top-20 light heavyweight. In a way, Braehmer's success is the embodiment of what's wrong with the sport—a proliferation of world titles, ridiculous rankings, and the term "champion" being watered down to the point where you don't know who to believe anymore. The organization where Braehmer is "champion" has multiple 175-pounders crowned as "champ" in the same group! Throw in Braehmer's repeated last-minute pullouts and he's not an easy guy to like for observers of the sport looking at it from afar. These two were actually supposed to fight back in 2011, with Braehmer pulling out with an injury to his eye.
At the same time, one shouldn't let those facts blind you from Braehmer's true merit. The truth is he could have really been something as a fighter. A true-blue talent, his career was interrupted with a few different run-ins with the law—with legal issues robbing a good five years from his upward trajectory. And those were his best years, What we see now is a reduced version of what could have been a special fighter. What prime he did have was spent taking on circumspect opposition. It's been a big waste. He still remains a good fighter, a strong and determined veteran who knows how to win. He's unbeaten over the past eight years and quite simply, he knows how to fight. Just because he never really got over the hump in a way that would please historians, that doesn't mean he wouldn't have if given the chance. As it is, he appeared content to collect paydays defending a dubious world title. It's a living.
Cleverly, an angular light heavyweight at 6'2" will have several inches in height and reach in this bout. He hasn't been getting the best results lately, going 3-3 in his last 6 after a 26-0 start that saw him win the WBO title and make 5 successful defenses. He lost his belt to a fighter who later developed into one of the best in the sport, when Sergey Kovalev slaughtered him in the 4th round. He moved up to cruiserweight—a big 25-pound jump. After a pair of nice wins, he ran into Tony Bellew, a man he had previously beaten. This time, it was the Rocky star's turn to win, by a split decision. Cleverly moved back down to 175, losing to top contender Andrzej Fonfara.
It's a little alarming when a 26-0 fighter goes 3-3. But Cleverly perhaps has a pretty good excuse. Losing to Kovalev is no disgrace as we now know. His loss to Bellew was at a higher weight against a really good 200-pounder who has since distinguished himself as a champ in that weight class. The loss to Fonfara was a close defeat, where Fonfara never stopped fighting, with the two throwing an insane 2524 combined punches. The results haven't been there necessarily, but nothing to suggest he can't compete with the likes of Braehmer. If anything, Cleverly has thrived at a higher level and is perhaps a bit closer to his prime, though Braehmer has held up pretty well. People aren't talking about Cleverly much anymore without there really being ample evidence that he's in any way finished. This is a big spot for him and one should expect him to act accordingly.
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Braehmer is more robust at this weight, a more-dependable physical package in many ways. He's a highly-durable southpaw, having never been stopped in a long career. He has a definite advantage in physical strength and punching power, while the locale of this fight could play a role. Not that Germany does anything different than other countries, including the USA, but let's just say it's been hard for some visiting fighters to notch big wins in Deutschland over the years.
Braehmer is highly-competent and could grind out rounds at home against the inconsistent Cleverly. But I think the jump in class is a lot for a fighter Braehmer's age to withstand. Cleverly is a little dicey from a durability standpoint against the strong German, but he has more overall offensive variety and to some extent—talent. He's younger and his punches are thrown with greater sharpness and volume. At nearly 2-to-1, he represents good value as an underdog, though the site of this bout is worrisome, with Cleverly needing the judges on his side to win. Still, I'll take the value play on Cleverly.
Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Nathan Cleverly at +190. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Braehmer vs. Cleverly fight at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying inflated odds with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!