Frank Warren: I will get Nathan Cleverly the Hopkins fight
FRANK Warren is already in talks with Golden Boy Promotions about a summer super fight between Nathan Cleverly and American legend Bernard Hopkins.
In an exclusive interview with Argus Sport, the promoter explained that providing the Cefn Fforest fighter defeats Robin Krasniqi on April 20 at London’s Wembley Arena, then he expects to announce the super fight before Cleverly has to take on another mandatory challenger, German Juergen Braehmer.
Undefeated WBO light heavyweight champion Cleverly and Hopkins almost fought last year until conflict over the dates – not to mention the WBO lining up two mandatory challengers – scuppered the plans. However, Clev-erly has recently embarked on a charm offensive with the 48-year-old, who on Saturday became the oldest world champion in the sport’s history, in an effort to secure a unification fight.
Hopkins told BBC Wales as recently as last Friday that he was keen to fight Cleverly and Warren insists not only will it happen, but that his man will win, just as in 2008 when Joe Calzaghe defeated Hopkins in Las Vegas.
“First and foremost, and I can’t stress this point enough, Nathan has to win his next fight, he has to beat Krasniqi to set himself up,” Warren told the Argus.
“Once that is out of the way, we will be – as we are already – in negotiations with both Golden Boy (Oscar De La Hoya’s promotion company who look after Hopkins) and the WBO in regard to Nathan’s fight with Braehmer.
“Considering the history with Braehmer (the German pulled out of a fight with Cleverly several times before being stripped of the WBO title following a prison sentence) and what a boost a Hopkins v Cleverly fight would be for the entire division, I’m pretty sure it can be done and can be Nathan’s next fight.”
Warren believes that 26-year old Cleverly will have too much speed for Hopkins.
“We want to sort out the Hopkins fight for the summer and it’s a fight I believe Nathan wins,” he said. “I think he beats him in the same way Joe Calzaghe did, he’ll be too fast and won’t let Hop-kins dictate the pace like he did against (Tavoris) Cloud.
“We were close to agreeing everything last year and Hopkins has said he covets unification fights so it’s all promising. We are already talking with Golden Boy.”
Cleverly told Argus sport on Tuesday that he’d willingly fight Hopkins in the US, but Warren hopes that’s not the case.
“I’d like to make the fight for the UK and Wales if possible where there are two stadiums that would fit the bill,” he said.
“Nathan went to the US last year and Joe went to America to face Bernard, but the biggest live audience would be in the UK.
“We’d like to save Nathan’s fans the air cost so, from my perspective, it’d be better as a big stadium fight in the UK.”
Warren admits he is also sick and tired of people questioning Cleverly’s record with many critics (especially on the internet) feeling he’s yet to be tested at the top level.
“Look at the Tony Bellew fight, that was a guy fighting in his own back yard and it was a very tough test,” Warren said.
“That’s the reason Tony fell out with me (Bellew left Warren for Matchroom last year), because he couldn’t accept the fact he’d been beaten by the better man.”