Cleverly: Hopkins, Perfect Guy To Prove That I'm Elite

Nathan Cleverly insists the negativity surrounding his reign as WBO light-heavyweight champion has fuelled his determination to eventually become the ruler of the division.

Cleverly will be making the fifth defence of his world title when he meets Germany based Kosovan Robin Krasniqi - a mandatory challenger - at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.

Inactivity caused by politics and postponements limited the 26-year-old from Cefn Forest, Wales, to only four fights in 2011 and 2012 and have tested his loyalty to promoter Frank Warren.

The standard of his opposition has also been seized upon by critics with recent conquests Aleksy Kuziemski, Tommy Karpency and Shawn Hawk failing to enhance his profile.

Cleverly believes his dignified response to the likes of former victim Tony Bellew, who has been the most outspoken of the path his rival's career has taken, sets an example to other fighters in a similar position.

"There have been quite a few cynics out there. That's part of being a champion," he said.

"You're there to be targeted and put down. I enjoy it in a way because that cynical stuff can inspire you to achieve your goals.

"When you need motivation sometimes you can look to that for inspiration, to prove the doubters wrong, keep smiling and keep winning.

"That's what I'm trying to do and at the same time showing other fighters who have been targeted how to deal with it.

"I rarely, if ever, go on boxing websites, because I'm too much in the zone concentrating on my own career rather than what people are saying.

"On Twitter you get the odd negative comment. But I use that to inspire me. You have to take the rough with the smooth as a world champion. I enjoy it."

Cleverly is aware that he must face bigger names if he is to broaden his appeal, but has been frustrated in attempts to entice IBF champion Bernard Hopkins into a unification fight.

Victory over Krasniqi, who has lost only two of his 41 fights but has campaigned well below Cleverly's level, would bring a dream showdown with the 48-year-old Hopkins a step closer.

"Hopkins is such a brilliant tactician and an elite level fighter. He'll ask questions I've never been asked before," he said.

"Have I got what it takes at the elite level? That's what he'll ask me and that's what I want to find out.

"Hopkins is the perfect guy to do that. I believe I can do it, it's just about proving you can.

"Possibly if I put on a good show against Krasniqi a lot of fighters will be on guard in the division and they won't fight it.

"They'll see the hunger, enthusiasm and ferocity I bring. That will put a lot of fighters off.

"We're lining up a big fight for later this year. We're having a few defences of my title and picking up experience before the unification fights."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by explosiv on 04-20-2013

Commend Clev if he goes for it. Hopkins is tough for anyone even now.

Comment by T-97 on 04-20-2013

[QUOTE=LacedUp;13270527]Hopkins is a champion, his age is irrelevant. He just beat a young strong champion, so if Cleverly beats him he should get his credit.[/QUOTE] I'd give Cleverly some credit, as Hopkins has shown he can still compete at a…

Comment by yoz on 04-20-2013

Nathan's name-dropping again, eh?

Comment by Alx. on 04-20-2013

i see a robbery if this ever happens

Comment by dan_cov on 04-20-2013

He really is determined to follow in the footsteps of Joe Calzaghe. Don't expect him to come knocking on Kesslers door though should he beat Froch. He'll be up calling out a 90yr old B-Hop & Roy Jones Jr. I…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (9)
Top Headlines Luis Nery Looks To Take His Career To Next Level in Tijuana Hekkie Budler Aims To Bounce Back at Kempton Park Josh Taylor Continues To Rise By Drilling Dave Ryan in Edinburgh Magdaleno on Track To Make 122-Pounds For Donaire Title Shot Hassan N'Dam Aims To Revamp Career, Hires Pedro Diaz Shane Mosley: I'm Semi-Retired - But For Right Opponent I'll Fight! For Better or Worse, Heavyweight Glory Still Runs Through Klitschko Golovkin's Coach: Mayweather Deserves Catch-Weight, NOT Canelo! Frank Warren: Klitschko Does NOT Deserve Shot at WBA Title! What To Do With Tyson Fury? - BoxingScene Ratings Update Arum Explains Manny Pacquiao's Lack of Knockouts Since 2009 McGuigan: Frampton Will Make an Impact in Vegas With Santa Cruz Golovkin Warns Saunders: I Want Your Belt, That is My Goal! Joe Hanks, Denis Douglin Return To Action on November 5 Manny Pacquiao Gets in One Last Workout Before Leaving To LA Hearn: I 100% Want Anthony Joshua vs. David Haye in 2017 Parker vs. Ruiz: Duco Looking For Goverment Funding For Event Jean Pascal Not Yet Ready For Ring Return, Says Trainer Photo: Victor Terrazas, Eduardo Hernandez on Weight For War Vargas: It's My Time, After I Beat Pacquiao - A Star Will Be Born! Erislandy Lara Still Has a Target on The Back of Gennady Golovkin Photos: Luis Nery, Richie Mepranum Set For War in Tijuana Joselito Velasquez, Mexican Olympian, To Be Trained By Robles Wladimir Klitschko, Lucas Browne Far Apart On Money For 12/10 Photos: Canelo is Officially Belted in Puerto Rico By The WBO Cotto Says Canelo Rematch is a Subject For Discussion Danny Williams Returns, Faces Ali Eren Demirezen in Hamburg Edis Tatli Takes on Manuel Lancia on December 17 Canelo vs. Saunders Showdown Fully Backed By WBO Prez Weights: David Lemieux, Cristian Fabian Rios Ready To Fight Eggington Predicts Damage: I'm Going To Do a Job on Gavin Jeff Horn Ready For IBF Strap: 100%, Bring on Errol Spence! Hooker Plans on Testing Perez's Chin Early on Kovalev vs. Ward Marin, Pintor Make Weight For Boxeo Telemundo Season Finale Photo: Micki Nielsen, Kevin Lerena Ready For Battle Abel Sanchez Very Confident That Andy Ruiz Beats Joseph Parker Frampton: I'll Make it Two-Nil, Santa Cruz Only Fights One Way! Golovkin's Coach: I Doubt Canelo Will Last Eight or Nine Rounds Jeff Horn Crushes Rico Mueller As Title Shot Nears David Haye: Fans Want Me To Smash Tony Bellew, Shut Him Up

Latest Active Forum Threads