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My clash with Jack will steal the show in Vegas, says Cleverly

 

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Bring it on: Nathan Cleverly is relishing the big occasion

Bring it on: Nathan Cleverly is relishing the big occasion

Bongarts/Getty Images

Bring it on: Nathan Cleverly is relishing the big occasion

Nathan Cleverly insists his World title defence against Badou Jack on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor will prove the "real, real fight" amid next week's "freak event".

The Welshman makes the first defence of his WBA light-heavyweight title as chief support to Mayweather-McGregor at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena on August 26.

Jack, 33, will fight for the first time at 175lb having built his reputation at super-middleweight by defeating George Groves and in January entertainingly drawing with James DeGale.

What is expected to be a physical and competitive match-up will likely provide a significant contrast to the one-sided affair expected between Mayweather and McGregor, when the Irishman boxes as a pro for the first time.

Sergey Kovalev, Tony Bellew, Andrzej Fonfara and Juergen Braehmer are among those Cleverly has had punishing fights with before signing to fight Sweden's Jack, and within that he also believes McGregor does not deserve his big chance.

"The chief support, you've got the real, real fight between myself and Jack," said Cleverly. "Two genuine, world-class operators putting it on the line. This could be the real fight of the night, and I'm looking to capitalise on that.

"(Mayweather-McGregor is) one of these once in a blue moon fantasy fights. It's captured the public's imagination.

"The magnitude and scale of this event, it's massive. It's a great opportunity for us, that this fight is part of this show.

"Mayweather deserves that pinnacle position in boxing; McGregor that pinnacle position in UFC. Does he deserve the opportunity in boxing? No, but can you blame him for making it happen? No.

"Fair play for the work they've put in, and making this a one-off, freak event."

Confirmation of Cleverly's match-up with Jack had been expected soon after that of the main event but only came last week.

Groves was similarly kept waiting by Mayweather Promotions in the build-up to his 2015 defeat by Jack, and the Mayweathers have a reputation for pursuing subtle advantages, but Cleverly insists if that was their plan it has had no effect.

"It was quite possibly a ploy but it's expected in boxing, in all walks of life," said the Welshman, who also has no plans to speak to Groves or DeGale for advice.

"In preparation, even though it wasn't official, I was always getting ready for August 26, so it made no difference to me.

"Regardless of any advice, it's down to me, and I'm confident in myself."

Belfast Telegraph