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Who wins Nathan Cleverly-Tony Bellew II?

July 12, 2014: Cruiserweight Tony Bellew calls out rival Nathan Cleverly (wearing cap) from the ring after beating Julio Cesar Dos Santos in Liverpool. Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images.

July 12, 2014: Cruiserweight Tony Bellew calls out rival Nathan Cleverly (wearing cap) from the ring after beating Julio Cesar Dos Santos in Liverpool. Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images.


Saturday’s cruiserweight rematch between former light heavyweights Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew has been rife with venom during its build-up.

In facing Bellew for the second time at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, Cleverly returns to the site of their first meeting, when he successfully defended his WBO title by majority decision in October 2011.

Cleverly (28-1, 14 knockouts) has vowed a brutal knockout of Bellew (22-2-1, 14 KOs), whose trainer, Dave Coldwell has said “it will be all over” if Bellew lands “at any time.”

Since rising into the cruiserweight division, Cleverly, 27, has registered knockout victories over Shawn Corbin in the second round and Alejandro Emilio Valori in the fourth in May and July, respectively. With the wins, Cleverly rebounded from being dethroned as WBO 175-pound titleholder in a fourth-round stoppage loss to Sergey Kovalev in August 2013.

Bellew is 6-1-1 with four knockouts since losing to Cleverly and, since moving to cruiserweight, has scored knockouts over Valery Brudov in the 12th round in March and Julio Cesar Dos Santos in the fifth round in July. Bellew, 31, last suffered defeat by sixth-round stoppage to RING light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson last November.

The results of the poll taken from 13 insiders regarding Cleverly-Bellew II are as follows.


Jake Donovan,

Tony Bellew SD 12 Nathan Cleverly: These two clearly don’t like each other but it will be tough to match the in-ring intensity and excitement of the first fight.

Neither fighter has evolved since their October 2011 war but cruiserweight seems a better fit on Tony Bellew’s frame than for Nathan Cleverly’s. In a coin toss fight, the outcome will be disputed regardless of who wins.

Record: 23-7 [Last pick: Wladimir Klitschko UD 12 Kubrat Pulev]


Norm Frauenheim, THE RING magazine,

Nathan Cleverly UD 12 Tony Bellew: It’s a different weight class, cruiser instead of light heavy but Nathan Cleverly’s advantages are the same and just enough for another narrow decision over rival Tony Bellew.

Bellew, loser of a majority decision three years ago at 175 pounds, believes he has more power at the heavier weight. Maybe, but Cleverly’s speed will keep him a step out of harm’s way and a step ahead on the cards.

Record: 25-8 [Last pick: Klitschko UD 12 Pulev]


Tom Gray,

Tony Bellew TKO 10 Nathan Cleverly: Initially, I favored Tony Bellew to win this bout easily due to it taking place at cruiserweight. But as the weeks have passed, I’m nowhere near as confident.

Bellew is full of passion as always but Nathan Cleverly’s composure and confidence during the build-up has been standout and he looks in terrific fighting shape. Cleverly brings the pace and the speed, whereas Bellew brings the punching power.

I’m sticking with Bellew to prevail but I think he will go through hell to secure this revenge win. I expect a brilliant atmosphere; Cleverly vs. Bellew II is likely to be the best fight available this weekend, worldwide.

Record: 24-9 [Last pick: Klitschko TKO 10 Pulev]


Lee Groves,

Tony Bellew W 12 Nathan Cleverly: To me, several factors are pointing toward a Tony Bellew win. First, the fight is being staged in Bellew’s hometown of Liverpool.

Second, he showed in the first fight that he can curb Nathan Cleverly’s vigorous work rate by ratcheting up his own. Third, Bellew is hungry to avenge his first defeat, which was a majority decision before those same Liverpool fans. He’ll want to make good on several fronts and I think he’ll get the job done.

Record: 16-5 [Last pick: Sergey Kovalev W 12 Bernard Hopkins]


Rich Marotta, KFI Radio, Los Angeles

Nathan Cleverly Dec. Tony Bellew: Their first fight was just, as they say in Britain, a real cracker. It deserves a rematch. Both have suffered defeats to high-quality opponents and you certainly can’t hold Nathan Cleverly’s loss to Sergey Kovalev against him too much.
That said, I see a repeat of the first fight.

Tony Bellew will push it and land the bigger punches. Cleverly, the rangier fighter, will box, move and counter. The arena will be electric and the action brisk. But the outcome will be same. The fight goes the distance and Cleverly takes the decision.

Record: 21-10 [Last pick: Hopkins W 12 Kovalev]


Diego Morilla, XN Sports

Nathan Cleverly W 12 Tony Bellew: It will be great to finally see a rematch that could answer some questions and settle the score between these two entertaining fighters. It is easy to feel inclined toward Nathan Cleverly based on better level of opposition and better overall boxing ability. But their first bout was the most controversial of both of their careers.

Even though it seems that only Cleverly has enough tools to come up with some sort of improvement for this rematch, it is also not hard to imagine that Tony Bellew will be applying even more pressure this time around, knowing how close he was to beating Cleverly in their first encounter. It’s a tossup, really, with a slight edge for Cleverly based on the strength of his last few performances.

Record: 11-8 [Last pick: Pulev W 12 Klitschko]


Harry Pratt,

Nathan Cleverly MD 12 Tony Bellew: A grudge match, maybe, but this is not Carl Froch-George Groves II in any shape or form, no matter how hard they sell the pay-per-view package on the UK side of the pond.

That said, the outcome of Nathan Cleverly-Tony Bellew II might be harder to call. First, Cleverly’s win over the Merseysider in their first meeting was three years ago and came at light heavyweight.

And much has happened to the Welshman since then, including losing his WBO title and unbeaten record inside four rounds against Sergey Kovalev in August 2013. That sparked Cleverly’s move up to cruiserweight.

Only on Saturday will we know for sure if Cleverly has fully recovered, mentally, from that brutal battering. Make no mistake; Bellew, despite apparent limitations and inferior boxing skills, is likely to be in all-out assault mode.

Therefore, Bellew will seriously test Cleverly’s resolve to be in a ring war. But the man with the home support could well blow himself out on an emotionally charged night. Can Bellew produce a controlled, disciplined display when he proclaims such hatred for his opponent?

That is very much open to debate. That’s why, if he’s up for the battle – which I believe he will be – I’m taking Cleverly to silence the Liverpool crowd again by taking a majority decision.

Record: 3-2 [Last pick: Carl Froch KO 8 George Groves]


John J. Raspanti, Monthly Magazine

Nathan Cleverly W 12 Tony Bellew: Three years ago, Nathan Cleverly defeated Tony Bellew by majority decision. A lot has changed since their first meeting.

Both lost high profile fights by knockout. Their first fight was contested in the light heavyweight division. Now they’re both campaigning as cruiserweights.

The most important aspect hasn’t changed. Cleverly still has the style to defeat Bellew. I think he’ll survive an early scare and win the rematch by unanimous decision.

Record: 23-10 [Last pick: Klitschko TKO 10 Pulev]


Cliff Rold,

Nathan Cleverly W 12 Tony Bellew: Both have been stopped since their first meeting but they remain well matched. Nathan Cleverly is still the more complete of the two and it will show here with a more decisive win than last time over Tony Bellew.

Record: 21-11 [Last pick: Klitschko W 12 Pulev]


Francisco Salazar,

Nathan Cleverly UD 12 Tony Bellew: Yes, Nathan Cleverly won a majority decision over Tony Bellew but the right fighter won. Since being stopped by Sergey Kovalev last year, Cleverly has rebounded well, stopping his last two opponents this year.

Bellew has also stopped his last two opponents since being knocked out by Adonis Stevenson. Cleverly is the more-polished of the two and I believe his boxing IQ will be enough to pull away and win a close unanimous decision over Bellew.

Record: 7-2 [Last pick: Klitschko TKO 11 Pulev]


John Scully, trainer

Nathan Cleverly W 12 Tony Bellew: I’m going with Nathan Cleverly on a close and hard-fought decision over Tony Bellew, with many tight and hard to scored rounds along the way.

Record: 15-9 [Last pick: Klitschko UD 12 Pulev]


Bradley Starks, guest/fan, Novato, Calif.

Nathan Cleverly UD 12 Tony Bellew: This should be a fun fight and it will be interesting to see how this rematch plays out at cruiserweight. Will it be repeat or revenge? Tony Bellew wants to prove that he’s the better fighter.

Unfortunately, I think that distinction belongs to the Welshman, Nathan Cleverly, who wins a unanimous decision in an action-packed slugfest fought at a quick clip throughout.

Record: 12-2 [Last pick: Klitschko KO 7 Pulev]


Dominic Verdin,

Tony Bellew KO 7 Nathan Cleverly: In their first fight, they reminded us why we all love boxing and I’m certain we will all be reminded yet again this Saturday in Liverpool.

Although Nathan Cleverly has displayed heart and determination in every fight, Tony Bellew will get him this time, scoring the knockout inside of seven rounds.

Record: 21-8 [Last pick: Kovalev W 12 Hopkins]


By the margin of 9-to-4, the insiders have chosen Nathan Cleverly to yet again vanquish rival Tony Bellew in Saturday’s cruiserweight bout.


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