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Nathan Cleverly: Badou Jack will realise I have edge 'in the ring'

Nathan Cleverly believes he has the edge over Badou Jack in Saturday's chief support to Floyd Mayweather's superfight against Conor McGregor.

Welshman Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs), who lost the WBO world light-heavyweight title via stoppage to Russia's Sergey Kovalev four years ago, beat Germany's Juergen Braehmer for the WBA 'regular' title which he puts on the line against Jack at the T-Mobile Arena.

Cleverly celebrates winning the WBA light heavyweight World Championship in Oct. 2016. Ronny Hartmann/AP
Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs), 33, will make his debut at light-heavyweight on Saturday after three successful defences as WBC world super-middleweight champion.

"I will have an edge over Jack and he will realise that when he's in the ring with me," Cleverly said.

"He's world class but I've campaigned at light-heavyweight my whole career and this is his first fight at the weight, against a seasoned campaigner.

"I know it's only half a stone between super-middle and light-heavy, but it will make a difference. I'm not a KO artist and neither is he so possibly it will go to points, maybe a TKO, but a win is the crucial aspect for me."

Cleverly has not fought since Braehmer was forced out of their fight with injury in October, but the 30-year-old does not see it as a problem.

"It's been OK because the break has allowed me to have a rest and recover," Cleverly said. "In terms of needing to keep busy for experience, I don't need that at this stage of my career and I've stayed mentally strong and focused."

Cleverly hopes he can steal the show with his fight against Sweden-born Jack, who is based in Vegas and promoted by Mayweather.

With Mayweather-McGregor predicted to become boxing's richest event and highest grossing fight, Cleverly is looking to shine on the biggest stage of his 12-year professional career and set up a clash with American Andre Ward, who holds the full version of the WBA world title along with two other world light-heavyweight titles.

"Without the Mayweather-McGregor whole event, myself versus Badou Jack is a great fight, it stands alone," said Cleverly.

"But the way it has worked out and the way it is chief support to a fantasy fight on a global scale event, it's a real, real bonus and a terrific opportunity for us to put on a big fight.

"For me to move through into that elite level of boxing, because you have world level and elite level, and this is a great opportunity for me with the exposure on offer.

"Win this fight and then it's very, very likely that the Andre Ward fight could happen. This is a real, real solid world-class fight between me and Jack, a true world-class fight and then you have elite level, which is Andre Ward, a pound-for-pound elite fighter.

"The winner will push on to challenge for the elite level fight and that is Andre Ward. Winning this fight will give me that opportunity."

As for the main event, Cleverly can only see one winner: "I don't think there's any way of an upset because Mayweather is too good."

Author: Nick Parkinson
Source: http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/20414648/nathan-cleverly-badou-jack-realise-edge-ring

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