By Paul Mason (@PaulMason1986)
For all of my gripes and moans at the circus that is Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor, the undercard at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is shaping up quite nicely.
Late last week saw an expected matchup finally confirmed as Nathan Cleverly (30-3, KO16), the WBA Light Heavyweight Champion, makes his first defence of the title that he won by halting Jeuergen Braehmer in Germany in October last year. He defends against Badou Jack (21-1-2, KO12).This is an intriguing match, especially given this will be Las Vegas based Swede Jack’s debut at the 175lbs weight class. Jack has previously reigned as the WBC Super Middleweight Champion, but has decided to move up in weight following a stalemate draw with IBF Champion James DeGale earlier this year in an attempt to unify the division. Cleverly is in his second reign following a run as WBO Champion, which came to a painful end at the hands of Russian wrecking ball Sergey Kovalev, back in the summer of 2013.
The undercard also sees up and coming star Gervonta Davis (18-0, KO17) making the second defence of his IBF Lightweight Title. After ripping the title away from Jose Pedraza back in January on the Jack v DeGale bill, Davis followed this up by overwhelming the previously unbeaten Liam Walsh in London in May. He now defends against the Dominican Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1, KO13), who is relatively unknown outside his native country.
Also appearing in a good crossroads fight up at Welterweight is former IBF Champion Shawn Porter (27-2-1, KO17). He meets former World Title challenger, Thomas Dulorme (24-2, KO16) over ten rounds in a bid for both to get back in the World Title mix.
Former IBF Cruiserweight Champion, Steve “USS” Cunningham (29-8-1, KO13) appears on the card as the potential gatekeeper for the up and coming Las Vegas based Andrew Tabiti (14-0, KO12) for the NABF Title at Cruiserweight. This represents a significant step up for Tabiti, but also depends on how much Cunningham has left following many miles on the clock, and at the ripe old age of 41.
Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall makes her professional debut against fellow debutant Amy Coleman on the bill.
I suppose this is a sweetener to the main event that Mayweather Promotions has provided a solid undercard. I am in particular looking forward to Cleverly v Jack as this is a lot closer than people and especially the bookmakers think. I will of course be previewing the undercard in depth next week.
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