The Beatles released ‘We Can Work It Out’ back in 1965 but it seems the only way Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly can settle their long running feud is in the ring. Sky Sports Pay-Per-View screen all of the action from Liverpool’s Echo Arena live on Saturday night.
This match-up has split public opinion down the middle and bookmakers seem at a loss to predict the eventual winner, meaning it’s a real pick-em contest in the betting. Former WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly claimed a majority decision when the pair met in the same venue three years ago and since losing his title to the impressive Sergey Kovalev last summer via a fourth round TKO, the 27-year-old has returned to form with two stoppage wins in his most recent outings, both inside four rounds. The 6ft 1inch Welshman is best priced 42/41 with BWin to score again while a third KO/TKO win on the spin trades at a tempting 5/1 with Bet365. Those who think history will repeat itself and “Clev” will again impress the scoring judges can have 2/1 with Totesport.
Many believe Tony Bellew does his best work outside of the ring, whipping up interest in his career in front of cameras and at press conferences but the hard-hitting local has suffered just two defeats from a 25-fight career, to Cleverly and Adonis Stevenson inside six rounds, however “Bomber” has always disputed the former. He too arrives fresh from two stoppage wins since a loss and cut down Brazilian Julio Cesar Dos Santos in five rounds at this venue last time out. The 6ft 3inch orthodox boxer brings a 56 per cent knockout average into this contest and is even money with Bet Victor to level the score while victory inside the distance goes at 11/4 with the same firm. Edging out his old rival on the scorecards is also deemed an 11/4 shot with Bet365.
As much as this will be an entertaining fight for armchair fans of the sport, and the build-up has been amusing to say the least, I have to say the decision to put it on the pay-per-view platform is a bit of a slap in the face for the sport’s avid fans. Many are up in arms about having to fork out extra cash to watch a non-world title fight just because the men involved don’t seem to have much in common and if the main event fails to convince, the undercard is about as lop-sided as Gemma Collins opposite Posh Spice on a seesaw. However, for those who do cough up the money to view, I’d make Cleverly your bet to pay the bill. He’s a former world champion who has lost only to Kovalev and there’s no shame in that with the form working out just right. He’s a strong bet for me!