With a mouth-watering undercard in store before the biggest event of the year, let’s take a closer look at the action…
Nathan Cleverly vs Badou Jack – WBA (regular) world light heavyweight title
Nathan Cleverly is ready for his big moment inside the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. After a turbulent career, the 30-year-old is facing another warrior in the form of “Jack the Ripper”, having also shared dance partners such as Kovalev, Bellew and Fonfara over the last four years.
After winning the light heavyweight WBA (regular) title back in October last year against an out-of-sorts Jurgen Brahmer, the Welshman is looking to cement his position on the world stage with his most impressive win to date.
The odds are stacked against him, and in Badou Jack, Cleverly has his work cut out. The Swedish-American has moved up in weight after his failed attempt to unify the super-middleweight division in an enthralling draw with Britain’s James DeGale early this year. Now at 165-pounds the former WBC champ has his eyes firmly set on a dust-up with pound-for-pound king Andre Ward, looking to negate the challenge of Cleverly with relative comfort beforehand.
The 33-year-old Jack fights out of Las Vegas and enters the ring with a record of 21-1-2. In his artillery is a good jab, decent power and impressive counterpunching, something that will be crucial against the ‘come-forward’ style of Cleverly. He’s solid rather than spectacular, and despite fighting at a new weight should be comfortable if the fight goes the distance.
The only loss on his record came at the hands of Derek Edwards via a first-round stoppage in February of 2014. Cleverly possesses power at this weight, and will be keen to test the questionable chin of the title challenger.
If Jack avoids turning this fight into a brawl, the home fighter should come out of it unscathed and clasping the WBA (regular) title. Cleverly has a big heart, however, a fighter as skillful as Jack is likely to frustrate the Welshman through large parts of this fight.
Verdict: Badou Jack by UD
Gervonta Davis vs Francisco Fonseca – IBF world super featherweight title
Undefeated IBF super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis of Baltimore will be defending his crown against unbeaten Francisco Fonseca of Costa Rica this Saturday, as Mayweather’s main protégé looks to follow in the footsteps of “Money”.
Since turning pro in 2013, the 22-year-old has enjoyed a quick assent up the pound-for-pound rankings, with “Tank” knocking on the door of the top 20 after having only 18 professional fights.
Claiming his IBF super featherweight strap against Jose Pedraza in January was his breakout night on the world stage, and with a comfortable stoppage win against Liam Walsh in May, Davis is staying active as he looks to move through the weights.
With 17 of his 18 wins coming by the way of knockout, the champion has dynamite in both hands, and despite a reach of only 69 inches, he has used his intelligent footwork to find the angles and negate the challenges of his 18 victims that have fallen before him.
Davis has shown his desire to follow in Floyd’s footsteps whilst talking to the Washington Post:
“I wanted to be that guy they talk about. I want to be the guy that shine. I want to be that No. 1 guy. I’m just ready for Floyd to pass the torch on to me.”
With Roman Martinez rumored to be taking this fight up until a fortnight ago, Francisco Fonseca has taken this fight at very short notice in order to get him name up in lights on the big stage. The Costa Rican may be unbeaten, but without competing anywhere close the level that Davis operates it’s got all the makings of an early night for the Tico.
Fonseca’s only chance in this bout is a punchers chance at best, and with the Costa Rican priced at over double the price of a Conor McGregor win, you can see the uphill battle he has before him. Gervonta Davis should be operating at a higher level, however Mayweather’s protégé is vital to Saturday’s undercard, and the class of the opponent was the last of The Money Team’s concerns.
Verdict: Gervonta Davis by TKO/KO in rounds 2-5.
Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor
Nathan Cleverly vs Badou Jack
Gervonta Davis vs Francisco Fonseca
Yordenis Ugas vs Thomas Dulorme
Andrew Tabiti vs Steve Cunningham
Juan Heraldez vs Jose Miguel Borrego
Savannah Marshall vs Sydney LeBlanc
Kevin Newman II vs Mark Anthony Hernandez
Check out Nathan Cleverly and Badou Jack face-off before Saturday's fight...
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