WBN Preview: Cleverly v Kovalev – Bookie’s see 50/50 fight as brains meet brawn

Nathan Cleverly puts his WBO light-heavyweight title on the line for the sixth time tonight in what British bookmakers see as a fight that could go either way against Sergey Kovalev at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.

The 26 year-old has had much of his two-year reign his own way with the exception of a closely fought battle in Liverpool with Tony Bellew, and now faces another undefeated fighter in Kovalev – who has stopped 19 of 22 opponents so far.

Kovalev, 30, largely divides opinion on whether his record stands up to his fierce reputation, although the dangerous Russian has ended all but one of his knockouts within three rounds and has some familiar names on his impressive record to boot.

Odds of 10/11 for both boxers is a testament to what looks on paper to have all the qualities to be an exciting fight, with a wide points win for Cleverly and a first half stoppage for Kovalev the obvious flutters to a punter.

My money would be on the former as Welshman Cleverly returns home to the venue where he has never lost a round as world title holder, with a unification against Bernard Hopkins a real possibility if ‘Clev’ can manouvre the hard-hitting challenger.

An early onslaught would seem to be Kovalev’s best chance of causing an upset in what is his first trip to his native Europe in some two years, with ‘Krusher’ having the chance to prove he can cut it with the world’s best and earn a Hopkins fight for himself.