Standing in the way of the undefeated champion at Wembley Arena stands largely unknown quantity Robin Krasniqi, who has vast experience, but is as yet untested on the world stage.
At just 26 years of age, the German has amassed an impressive 39-2 record, with 15 stoppages and boasts a recent fourth round KO win over a 20-0 Serdar Sahin as the most outstanding win of a somewhat toothless eight-year career.
Cleverly, who is the same age as Krasniqi, must now prove his worth in what looks to be his toughest test since his Merseyside battle with Tony Bellew, although may be on a hiding to nothing with anything less than a knockout win.
With Hopkins making all the right noises and potentially waiting in the wings, ‘Clev’ must set out to stop Krasniqi from the off to impress those Stateside that don’t see him as a threat to the new IBF belt holder’s new reign. ‘B-Hop’ is fast approaching the end of his career as he continues to prove those doubters wrong time after time, but at 48, the Peter Pan of the sport cannot go on forever and needs a big unification contest to improve his already huge standing any further.
I fear that Cleverly could be in for a hard nights work in London tonight though, with Krasniqi possibly bringing more than the 25-0 star bargained for. The Challenger is annoyed that Cleverly is seemingly looking past him to the Hopkins fight, however I can’t see past anything other than a wide points win for the favourite.
BoxNation has a massive line-up of fights coming up including Nathan Cleverly v Robin Krasniqi and Canelo v Trout this weekend, Amir Khan’s clash with Julio Diaz on April 27 and Floyd Mayweather Jr’s return to the ring against Robert Guerrero on May 4. You can get all this action for just £10 a month. Click on any BoxNation link or banner on the WBN website to join the Channel of Champions!