Nathan Cleverly: Mayweather v McGregor is 'freak event'

Nathan Cleverly
Nathan Cleverly has won 30 of 33 fights as a professional

Nathan Cleverly says his bout with Badou Jack "could be the real fight of the night" on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather's "freak event" fight with Conor McGregor.

Welshman Cleverly will be defending his WBA world light heavyweight title against the Swede.

And he says McGregor has no chance of winning on 26 August in Las Vegas.

"In chief support you've got the 'real' fight, between myself and Jack, two world class operators," he said.

"This could be the real fight of the night and I'm looking to capitalise."

Cleverly believes the crossover fight between undefeated boxer Mayweather, 40, and UFC lightweight champion McGregor, 29, who has never boxed professionally, is a complete mismatch.

"I don't believe there is anyway McGregor can win, Mayweather is too good in his art and craft to allow McGregor to capitalise," Cleverly said.

"But fair play, they've made it a one-off, freak event."

'A massive opportunity'

Cleverly, who fought on the undercard of Joe Calzaghe's 2008 showdown with Bernard Hopkins in Vegas, says the magnitude of this fight eclipses any he has previously been involved with.

"It is one of these once in a blue moon fantasy fights that come along once in a generation," he said.

"My fight could be the real fight of the night and I'm looking to capitalise on that.

"The occasion is massive, the magnitude and the scale of the event, we are privileged to be on this event, it is a great opportunity. I am aware of the global scale of it, of the viewership.

"The fight has captured everyone's imagination and I think even though it is not a true boxing fight, for me, selfishly, I am glad of the opportunity it gives me, it is great exposure for everyone involved."

Mayweather and McGregor head-to-head
Floyd Mayweather has won 49 professional fights, Conor McGregor has never boxed, even as an amateur

'McGregor doesn't deserve it, but you can't blame him'

Explaining that he does not believe McGregor has a chance, Cleverly added that the Irish boxer "does not deserve," the opportunity he has, but credits him for taking his chance.

"An MMA specialist coming over, boxing is not his main field, so I believe an upset is not on the cards," he said.

"It is a fight, anything can happen, but realistically? Mayweather is too good.

"Does he deserve this opportunity in boxing? No.

"But can you blame him for making it happen and combining with Mayweather to make it happen? No you cannot and fair play to him for the work put in, inside and outside the gym to capture the public's imagination."

Badou Jack and James DeGale fight action
Badou Jack (left) is looking to become a two-weight world champion against Nathan Cleverly

Ticket to the elite level

Cleverly says the exposure of facing Jack, a Swedish boxer based in Vegas, gives him a chance to enter boxing's 'elite' level as he targets a potential future fight with Andre Ward.

"I've been very patient and I am the current world champion, that puts me in a strong position and I knew sooner or later this fight would be made," he said.

"On an exposure level, in the hierarchy of boxing this fight is exceptionally important. In terms of breaking into that elite level, this is the most important fight of my career."

Cleverly said he feels he has a significant advantage over his opponent, a former super middleweight world champion who beat George Groves and drew last time out with James DeGale as he prepares to face a British boxer for a third time.

"I am a seasoned campaigner at light heavyweight, but this is Jack's first fight at the weight and he will realise in the ring, half a stone is a jump up, it makes a difference," added Cleverly.

"I see it going the distance, potentially, neither of us are KO artists, we both punch hard, maybe a stoppage victory is more possible.

"But the win is the crucial aspect here."

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