The WBA will try to tell you with a straight face that this is a world title fight. According to their convoluted view of reality, Germany’s Juergen Braehmer is the WBA “regular” world champion at light heavyweight.
“Wait a second,” many boxing fans are saying as they read the previous paragraph. “Sergey Kovalev is the WBA light heavyweight champion.”
“No so fast,” the WBA will respond, glib as a used car salesman. “Sergey is the “super” champion. Juergen is the “regular” champ.”
This is monkey business as usual for the WBA. They routinely make these pathetic attempts at recognizing two world champions at the same time. It’s not even unusual for them to throw in a third, “interim” world champ.
Try this out some time, dear reader: tell your spouse “Sweetie, you’re my ‘super’ spouse. But I am going to add a ‘regular’ spouse to the roster when I go on the road for business.”
So Braehmer ain’t no world champion. But he is a legit contender at 175 pounds. And Braehmer vs. Cleverly is a relevant fight at light heavyweight. They are the two best fighters in the division who are based out of Europe (there are, of course, a number of Eastern Europeans fighting out of the United States who I would rate above either of them: Kovalev and Artur Beterbiev of Russia, Andrzej Fonfara of Poland, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Vyacheslav Shabrankskyy of the Ukraine).
Cleverly is the former WBO belt holder at 175. He was steam-rolled by Kovalev in August 2013. He made a brief move to cruiserweight, where he lost a split decision to Tony Bellew. Last year, he dropped a unanimous decision to Fonfara in one of 2015’s most action-packed fights.
In my opinion, this should be Cleverly’s fight. He’s nearly a decade younger than Braehmer, but has faced the better competition. But it is in Germany, where hometown fighters have a history of getting favorable decisions that they do not deserve.