Saturday, January 2, 2016

The 2015 Boxing Glove Awards: The Rocky Award: Nathan Cleverly

The Boxing Glove Rocky Of The Year 2015
Nathan Cleverly L12 Andrzej Fonfara
October16, 2015.  UIC Pavilion, Chicago.

11 months ago when Nathan Cleverly lost s 12-rounds point’s decision to Tony Bellew, many questioned whether he had a future in boxing.  Cleverly’s performance against Bellew had been listless and enigmatic, like someone who no longer wanted to fight.  It looked like the end of the road for Cleverly, who had moved up to the cruiserweight division in the wake of losing his WB0 world light-heavyweight title in a crushing defeat to Sergey Kovalev in August 2013.  The loss to Bellew at cruiserweight, seemed to expose Cleverly as a spent force, a fighter who had been permanently damaged by his traumatic defeat at the hands of ‘The Krusher’ Sergey Kovalev.

On October 16, 2015, after moving back down to light-heavyweight, Nathan Cleverly traveled over to Chicago to meet Polish hardman Andrzej Fonfara.  At the end of 12 bruising, brutal rounds, in one of the fights of the year, Nathan Cleverly was adjudged the point’s loser.  But, as always with the strange game, which is boxing, Nathan Cleverly had won far more than he had really lost in the course of this fight.  Cleverly went toe-to-toe with Fonfara for 12 rounds, at times fighting with the mad abandon of someone who had suddenly rediscovered his hunger for fighting. 

In the 7th round, Fonfara unleashed a sizzling attack upon Cleverly, forcing the Welshman to cover up as Fonfara threw punch after punch upon him. When it looked as if Cleverly must break and go down under the prolonged attack, Cleverly suddenly retaliated with an attack of his own, grinning as he did so through a mask of blood that was caused by a badly injured nose. The round summed up the fight and Cleverly’s attitude throughout the match. It was a performance worthy of the name ’Rocky.’

Sometimes in boxing you don’t need to win the fight to come out the winner.  Despite losing to Fonfara, Nathan Cleverly re-ignited his career with one of the gutsiest performances of the year.  It was the type of performance which will almost certainly guarantee Cleverly some important fights in the near future, perhaps even a shot at the World light-heavyweight title.  

Watch the fight:

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