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Calzaghe concerned over Cleverly

ESPN staff
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Enzo Calzaghe believes Nathan Cleverly may struggle against a heavier frame at cruiserweight © Getty Images
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Nathan Cleverly's decision to move up to cruiserweight has been questioned by Enzo Calzaghe, who believes the Welshman may lack the "killer punch" to contest at a higher weight class.

Cleverly decided to move up from light-heavyweight after he suffered his first ever defeat as a professional, when surrendering his WBO world title to Sergey Kovalev last August.

Calzaghe, who trained son Joe throughout an unbeaten 46-fight career, suggested the change may have come too soon and that Cleverly still has the ability to dominate the light-heavyweight division.

"I don't know why he didn't give himself another chance at light-heavyweight to fulfil his potential, because he can get back to that higher level," Calzaghe told BBC Sport. "There's no problem, he can be at the top level again.

"If he was with me and asked if he should turn cruiserweight I would probably have said no. How many people has he knocked out as a light-heavyweight - two? He probably hasn't got the killer punch."

Cleverly has postponed his cruiserweight debut three times, but is now set to step back in the ring when he co-headlines Eddie Hearn's bill at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on May 17.

However, Calzaghe has voiced concern that Cleverly, who has moved up from his previous limit of 12 stone seven pounds, may find it difficult to deal with a heavier frame, particularly when the weigh-ins take place a day before the fight.

"Bear in mind most cruiserweights are coming down from heavyweight," Calzaghe said. "So he'll be competing with a guy probably who is a heavyweight originally - so how will he cope with these heavyweights?

"On the fight night they'll probably be 15 stone and a half, even 16 stones. It's a lot to ask."

On Thursday, Cleverly admitted he would be prepared to give British rival Tony Bellew a rematch at cruiserweight. The pair fought at light-heavyweight in 2011 when Cleverly successfully defended his WBO title with a decision victory in Bellew's hometown of Liverpool.

Having both moved up the weights since they met in the ring, the pair have been involved in a brutal war of words, with Bellew admitting Cleverly was the only person in boxing that he "truly despises."

Cleverly became the latest fighter to join Hearn's Matchroom stable earlier this week.

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