THE circus surrounding Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Conor McGregor in the early hours of Sunday morning sadly meant the retirement of one of Gwent’s sporting greats went under the radar.

Two-time world champion Nathan Cleverly called time on his boxing career after being outclassed by the impressive Badou Jack on the undercard in Las Vegas.

It wasn’t the way the Cefn Fforest fighter would have wanted to bow out but he can be proud of his dozen years as a professional.

After making his debut as an 18-year-old in 2005, he went on to win the Commonwealth and European titles before claiming the WBO world light-heavyweight belt.

Cleverly made four successful defences before being well beaten by Sergey Kovalev in 2013.

He moved up to cruiserweight the following year, winning the vacant WBA intercontinental title before losing a grudge match against Tony Bellew.

A return to light-heavyweight was followed by another defeat against Andrzej Fonfara, but Cleverly claimed the WBA title with victory over Juergen Braehmer in October 2016 – becoming the first Welshman to lose and regain a world title at the same weight.

That win was a vindication of his decision to keep going after previously considering retirement but after a fourth defeat in 34 fights he has made the right decision to finally hang up his gloves.

“He announced his retirement very quick and if that's what he feels, then it's definitely the right thing to do,” said Gary Lockett, a former Team Calzaghe stablemate of Cleverly.

“Nathan's an intelligent boy, he'll know when the time's right.

“He looked to me like a fighter who's fallen out of love with the game.”

Cleverly’s was a career punctuated by long periods of inactivity and plenty of frustration and misfortune that saw him consistently under-rated as a fighter and under-appreciated by the national media.

And former WBU middleweight champion Lockett, now a trainer and manager, believes he deserved more credit.

“He was never afraid to go into the opponent's backyard, so he's got a place in boxing history, Welsh boxing history definitely," Lockett told BBC Wales.

Cleverly is the second of our sporting heroes to call time on their career in recent weeks.

Cycling star Becky James announced her retirement earlier this month, a year on from winning two silver medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Both will go down in history amongst the most successful sporting stars from our corner of Wales.

But where do they rank in the list of Gwent sporting greats?

The likes of Arthur ‘Monkey’ Gould, Dai Watkins and the Pontypool front row would all take their place in an all-time greats list, as would marathon record-breaker Steve Jones.

But they were all before my time so here’s my top-10 from the 21st century.

South Wales Argus:

1. Joe Calzaghe: The unbeaten two-weight world champion from Newbridge (above) is arguably Britain’s best ever boxer and he’s out on his own in terms of Gwent greats.

2. Mark Williams: The Cwm snooker star is a two-time world champion and has also claimed two Masters titles and two UK Championships wins in the era of Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins.

3. Becky James: The Abergavenny ace won two golds at the 2013 Track World Championship and two silvers in Rio as well as a bronze for Wales at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and it could have been more if not for injury and illness.

4. Taulupe Faletau: Already a Grand Slam winner and World Cup semi-finalist with Wales and star of the British & Irish Lions series win in Australia, there’s much more to come from Pontypool’s premier export.

South Wales Argus:

5. Liz Johnson: The Newport-born swimmer (above) won medals at three successive Paralympic Games – gold at Beijing 2008, silver at Athens 2004 and bronze at London 2012 – as well as claiming four world titles.

6. Mark Colbourne: Having broken his back in a paragliding accident, the Tredegar cyclist won multiple medals at world level before claiming a gold and two silvers at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

7. Nathan Cleverly: He wasn’t the new Joe Calzaghe but anybody would suffer in comparison and, as a double world champion, he deserves more respect than he’s got over the past few years.

South Wales Argus:

8. Christian Malcolm: Injury and illness meant the Newport sprint star (above) never quite lived up to his early promise as a double world junior champion but three silvers and three bronze medals at world, European and Commonwealth level is quite a collection.

9. Ryan Jones: The Newport-born number eight has won three Grand Slams with Wales and captained his country with distinction as Warren Gatland’s men swept all before them in 2008.

10. Chris Gunter: A stalwart of the national team since for a decade, the defender from Newport was a hero of the Euro 2016 success and is on course to become the most capped player in Welsh football history.