Mayweather vs McGregor: Nathan Cleverly ready to beat Badou Jack to set up Andre Ward fight
By Tim Hobbs
Last Updated: 17/08/17 12:19am
Nathan Cleverly hopes a "ding-dong" win over Badou Jack will put him in line to take on pound-for-pound king, Andre Ward.
The Welsh warrior defends his WBA world light-heavyweight title against Jack on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather's fight with Conor McGregor on August 26, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Cleverly has already moved across to America ahead of his first defence and not only believes his fight could overshadow the main event at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, but wants to use Jack as a stepping-stone to take on Ward, the unbeaten WBA Super, WBO and IBF champion.
"I want to capitalise on it," Cleverly told Sky Sports.
"All the eyes are on McGregor and Mayweather, me and Jack just need to get on with business and perform to our best and put on a fight, you all know that the fight afterwards is the one everyone is there to see, it's a fantasy fight that has captured the imagination.
"But mine and Jack's will be the realest fight on the night and it is a nice position without the huge pressure those two have got.
"We're both world-class fighters, Jack is seasoned, operated at the top level consistently and a winner to push on to elite level, like Ward who is exceptional and pound-for-pound one of the best.
"The winner can push on and get to that level. Ward is the ultimate goal for the best in the sport and if the winner of our fight will be mandatory for Ward, that's where you'd like to head.
"There's only one route for the winner of this: onwards and upwards."
Jack will be fighting at light-heavyweight for the first time, seven months after drawing with James DeGale in a super-middleweight unification.
The Swede, known as 'The Ripper', also beat George Groves in Las Vegas on the same card as Mayweather's last fight in September 2015, but Cleverly believes the step-up in weight will make Jack lose to his third British opponent.
"For Jack to jump on and take me on in his first fight, he fancies it but it's easier said than done and he will realise that," he said.
"Jack is a solid fighter, doesn't do anything flamboyant, very consistent. He does basics very well and is solid all-round. But he will realise that I'm naturally seasoned at the weight and have campaigned there for a long time.
"Jack will find out when he is in the ring why I am a true light-heavy. He's not shy of a fight and neither am I and it could be a real ding-dong, trading big shots and we may be there for the full 12 rounds. But I will still win."