Oscar De La Hoya has said he believes that WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly needs a high profile fight to gain the recognition he deserves.
De La Hoya believes that Nathan Cleverley (26-0 12 KOs) will not be considered PPV level or amongst the most marketable of fighters until he claims a victory over a big name. The ‘Golden Boy’ thinks that a unification clash between the Welshman and IBF Light-Heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2 32 KOs) is the best possible name for him.
“Beating Bernard Hopkins elevates your status to super champion,” The former 6 weight world Champion said to Radio Wales Sport. “You have to have a ‘name’ opponent to elevate yourself to a whole new level. I believe that is what he is missing.”
“You have to fight that champion, that fighter, that people feel is the best. I believe it is coming. Cleverly is a fighter who is willing to fight the best and it’s time we see that potential in the ring.”
“I believe it could be Bernard Hopkins. He is a fighter who is a legend, has a big name worldwide and is still considered the best light heavyweight out there.”
Cleverly takes on hard hitting Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1 19 KOs) in his home town of Cardiff on Saturday with many people viewing this as the toughest test of Cleverly’s time as champion. If he comes through it he will have to wait before approaching Hopkins as he has his own IBF title defence against Germany’s Karo Murat (25-1-1 15 KOs). Murat has not fought since June 2012 and should be easy cannon fodder for the slick ‘Executioner’.