Boxing preview: Cleverly v. Kovalev, Geale v. Barker HBO Sat, 9:45 pm

Saturday brings matchups featuring British boxers on two continents. Settle in for plenty of boxing action. Photo: Nathan Cleverly and Sergey Kovalaev / Associated Press Ben Birchall/PA

SAN DIEGO, August 17, 2013 – Fighter in the bigger weight classes have been surging forward this summer providing serious action for fans. The boxing community hopes Saturday’s light heavyweight matchup from the UK keeps the streak going.

WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly of Britain puts his undefeated record on the line against challenger Sergey Kovalev of Russia in front of a hometown crowd at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena in Wales. The event will air on HBO in the U.S. at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.

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Following the delayed broadcast of the fight from the UK, fans will see the main event live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, a middleweight contest between Daniel Geale of Australia and Darren Barker of England. Both weighed in at 159.5 pounds for their title fight.

The confident Cleverly, 26, (26-0, 12 KOs) believes his perfect record will be extended against the hard-hitting Kovalev. The hometown crowd may be squarely behind Cleverly,  but the oddsmakers favor the powerful punching Russian. Kovalev is dangerous. He boasts an impressive knockout percentage, 21-0-1, 19 KOs. All but one of his knockouts came within the first three rounds. Be sure you’re in your seat on time for this one or you could miss it.

Cleverly knows this is the most important fight of his career. A flashy victory would give him a major contract with HBO which puts in him fights in front of American audiences where the big money lies in boxing. 

Cleverly said, “There is nothing left to say now and all the talking will be done in the ring tomorrow night. All the hard work is done, I’ve hit the weight spot and I’m ready to fight. I can’t wait for it, bring on Kovalev.”

Kovalev is playing his cards close to the vest, saying everyone will find out who is the stronger fighter on Saturday. Whoever wins potentially gets a shot against Bernard Hopkins, the 48-year-old ageless wonder in the division. At Friday’s weigh-in, Cleverly came in at 174 pounds, with Kovalev at 173 pounds.

HBO comes back across the pond to Atlantic City for the Daniel Geale and Darren Barker headline bout.

Daniel Geale and Nathan Barker fight for the right to face a top contender on Saturday in Atlantic City. Photo: Mario Serrano, Gary Shaw Productions.

Geale, who holds the International Boxing Federation’s belt, won a decision over Anthony Mundine in January and before that over Felix Sturm in September 2012. Geale, age 32, is 29-1 with 15 KOs. Barker, age 31, is 25-1 with 16 KOs. He has a knockout loss by Sergio Martinez on his record, but he has scored two victories with a KO in December 2012 and a TKO in March over Simone Rotolo.

Geale likes to mix it up. He loves to throw punches in bunches. He has speed and excellent agility and balance, which helps a fighter literally roll with the punches. He knows that American audiences are seeing him for the first time and he needs to put on a great show to take his career to the next level.

Barker is the challenger here. His greatest asset is a height advantage of several inches, 6-0 and one half inches tall versus the 5-10 Geale. The last time U.S. fans saw Barker, he lost to Sergio Martinez in 2011. This fight’s outcome depends on whether Barker is willing to come at the aggressive Geale and take control of this fight. If he has a chance of winning, he needs to do it early. Otherwise, Geale will apply steady pressure and he’s likely to get stronger as the fight goes on. He will punch more and score more. If it’s a decision, it goes to Geale.

Not getting ahead of ourselves, but should Geale win, he’d likely get a chance against someone like Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin, the fearsome knockout king from Kazakhstan via Germany who is fast making a name for himself among American fans. This falls into the “be careful what you wish for” category for Geale and Barker.

HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” airs at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT Saturday, August 17.

 Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read Ringside Seat in Communities, follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter at @PRProSanDiego Gayle can be reached via Google +


Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.   

Copyright © 2013 by Falcon Valley Group

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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