Nathan Cleverly challenges Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler
NATHAN Cleverly has offered Carl Froch or Mikkel Kessler a shot at his world title – whatever the outcome of the duo’s showdown in London tonight.
Froch faces former Joe Calzaghe opponent Kessler in an eagerly anticipated super-middleweight unification bout at the O2 Arena.
Froch is putting his IBF title on the line against the Dane’s WBA crown in a shared purse believed to be worth £5 million.
And Cefn Fforest light-heavyweight champ Cleverly says he is ready if either of them want to move up and challenge him while he waits for his own unification fight against Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson or Tavoris Cloud.
Both Froch and Kessler have been beaten convincingly by world number one super-middleweight Andre Ward and could be tempted by a shot at Cleverly’s crown.
“Whoever loses can always come up to light-heavyweight,” said Cleverly. “If they want to move up and challenge me, there’s an opportunity waiting for them.”
A Cleverly-Froch fight would be something of a grudge match with the pair having traded insults over the last week.
Froch is furious with George Groves and Cleverly’s decision to help Kessler’s preparations by taking part in sparring sessions in Denmark.
“It just sums them up,” said the Nottingham star. “They’d rather go out there and help a foreign fighter prepare for the biggest fight of my career and I’m a British fighter.
"It just shows the state of British boxing in terms of people working with each other. They should have a bit more class about them.
“They are quite bitter and jealous and they want to fight with me. But it’s not happening because I’m a league above the pair of them.”
Cleverly also came into Froch’s firing line for talking up a fight between the pair of them.
“Who is he to call me out, who has he fought, who has he beat?” Froch said.
“And he’s a light heavyweight and I am a super middleweight. If he wants to come down to super middle I will end his career for him, otherwise he should shut up.”
Cleverly has hit back, claiming he would beat Froch and branding him a hypocrite.
“If anything, Froch is being hypocritical because he was advising Kessler how to beat Brian Magee last year,” he said.
“Kessler asked me to go out and spar in Copenhagen. I decided it would be a great experience to go and work with someone of Mikkel’s calibre.
“I’ve got no issue working with Mikkel because I don’t owe Carl Froch anything. In fact, we are rivals.
“Why should I have remorse? I don’t even know Carl and we have never socialised.
“Froch has said a few disrespectful things about me in the past and always talked around the chances of us meeting in the ring.
“It is quite clear he doesn’t fancy the fight with me. I feel I would give him a boxing lesson. I absolutely know I would beat Carl Froch.”
Despite their differences, Cleverly believes that Froch will have too much for Kessler.
Kessler won the pair’s first clash on points three years ago in Herning, but Cleverly predicted: “It is going to be very tough for Mikkel.
“He is coming up against Froch who has good momentum behind him and will give it everything because he wants this fight bad.”
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