By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
NATHAN Cleverly aims to live up to his surname tonight by not being stupid when he defends his WBO world light-heavyweight title.
He meets American Tommy Karpency at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena and is a massive 40-1 ON shot with some bookmakers.
The bookies believe that American Karpency has no more than a 14-1 chance of beating the Welshman – but Cleverly is taking nothing for granted.
Cleverly said: “I know people are thinking it will be easy for me but it would be stupid to underestimate him. In boxing that is a recipe for disaster.
“People can sit on the couch at home and be disrespectful to my opponent but they don’t have to get into the ring with him.”
Cleverly recorded the best win of his unbeaten career last October with a thrilling points win over Tony Bellew in October.
Tomorrow’s contest will be his first in Wales for more than four years and he wants to win his first fight of an important year in style.
Cleverly, 25, said: “I have big plans for this year that I hope will include a unification fight so I hope to do the business against Karpency.”
He will be gunning for his 24th straight victory against Karpency, who has had two defeats in his 24-fight career.
It is something of a surprise title shot for Karpency, 26, who insists he’ll make the most of the chance.
He said: “I believe I can beat any light-heavyweight in the world.
“Nathan likes to be the first guy to attack but so do I and I think you will see a lot of explosions on the night. This is the biggest fight of my career.”
Cleverly has vowed to do boxing proud a week after the shameful press conference brawl between Dereck Chisora and David Haye.
He said: “I have a chance to conduct myself in a professional manner as always and leave my talking for inside the ring, not outside.
“It can be easy to get dragged into a scuffle, but I am pretty sure that is not going to happen. We will have the utmost respect for each other.
“People will be looking for me to carry the sport in a professional manner, which I intend to do. I will be myself and I am sure it will be a professional performance.
“Karpency seems to be a good guy. He is a professional fighter and he seems to be a nice guy so I don’t see a clash of personalities that will cause uproar.”
PREDICTION: Karpency certainly has a puncher’s chance but I’m taking Cleverly to maintain his unbeaten run with an early win.
THE Cleverly-Karpency fight will be screened live on BoxNation (Sky 456/Virgin 546).