Mikkel Kessler – another Johnny Come Lately
09.04.07 - By David Bloch: Mikkel Kessler and his promoter Mogens Palle have been making huge noise about a potential unification bout between Kessler and Joe Calzaghe, yet it seems, if Frank Warren is to be believed, that Kessler has turned down an opportunity to fight Joe due to the fight being too short notice. (four months)
Article posted on 10.04.2007
Despite Kessler having an easy time with Andrade in a fight that he was never really tested in, Kessler feels that he needs more time to prepare for Calzaghe when he is dealing with a formal contract – yet informally, Kessler will tell anyone he can that he'll fight Calzaghe in Calzaghe's own bedroom if it gets him the match.
Joe Calzaghe has spent a decade defending his WBO championship belt, defining the belt as being the best in the division due to the amount of tough contenders he has beaten during in his twenty defences as champion.
His title reign was given further legitimacy when he unified against Jeff Lacy in a match that the Ring Magazine saw fit to be a challenge for the Super Middleweight Ring Championship, yet almost as quickly as his hands found Lacy's face in a dominating performance, people were again doubting Joe and removing all credit for the Lacy win.
De Ja Vu.
Mikkel Kessler has made similar noise to Jeff Lacy, he has a similar level of support who refuse to acknowledge anything Calzaghe has done in his career to this point, he even has Sakio Bika, a man that was easily defeated by Calzaghe, stating that Kessler will beat Calzaghe due to sparring sessions Bika and Kessler had in the lead up to Andrade, similar to Robin Reid who had lost to both Lacy and Calzaghe stating Lacy would dominate the fight.
Kessler, despite holding two titles at Super Middleweight, despite having just four less fights than Joe Calzaghe, has no where near the same level of competition.
The two biggest wins in his career thus far have been against Anthony Mundine and Markus Beyer, both of whom had previously been defeated more than once by fighters who had also been defeated in their careers. While Kessler supporters believe that these two fights are excellent examples of Kessler's superiority, the real truth is that the Super Middleweight division is bereft of talent outside of the top two. Kessler is still untested and still must be seen as a green fighter.
Calzaghe should be forgiven for looking at this situation and seeing it as a pure case of irony.
The situation for Joe Calzaghe.
He can face Kessler, who is still green and untested, despite his two belts, who has only had five fights at a decent level, none at a great level, who has a jab-cross style that is tailor made for Calzaghe's evasiveness and handspeed, who will likely be dominated in the ring just as badly as Jeff Lacy was. Kessler's jab will find nothing but Joe Calzaghe's lead right hand all night, or even worse, miss completely – allowing Joe to get on the inside and damage Kessler unlike any other fighter he's faced thus far.
Calzaghe has never had issues being hit with the jab, despite fighting slick boxers such as Robin Reid and Richie Woodhall, as well as the 6'4 Mario Veit, who also works from the jab. Kessler has shown an inability to fight on the inside in his matches against Beyer, Mundine and Andrade. His jab and the weaker defence of his opponents has seen him dominate them regardless of his limited range of punches although at times, Mundine was able to make Kessler look silly whenever he got on the inside.
So, Calzaghe faces Kessler, who he must believe he'll defeat in dominant fashion and he must also believe that all credit will be taken away solely due to the fact that Mikkel Kessler has never been tested in the ring, that Mikkel Kessler has never faced anyone near Calzaghe's league and that Mikkel Kessler has a fight style tailor made for Joe Calzaghe.
Lose/Lose for Calzaghe
If he wins dominantly - "Kessler was hype"
If he wins a closer match - "Kessler got robbed"
If he wins by TKO - "The fight was stopped prematurely"
Where as, if Joe Calzaghe is able to face Hopkins, Taylor or Wright who each have proven their own legacies, who have all beaten great fighters and all of whom have featured on the mythical P4P lists, even if Joe dominates one of them in the fashion of Jeff Lacy, the credit will still be there due to their past and background, something Kessler and his fans cannot hope to claim he has.
I think the reasons are clear on why Joe Calzaghe does not want to face Kessler, at thirty five years of age and with only a few fights left in a great career, Calzaghe wants to fight people that will cement his place in the history of boxing as well as draw as many fans to the fight as Calzaghe himself can do.
I can also see why Mikkel Kessler has declined the contract to face Joe Calzaghe.
Kessler will know his own limitations like any professional athlete does, he will have studied his opponent and looked for weaknesses that he can exploit and if Kessler is being honest with himself, he'll know Calzaghe poses more problems for him than he does for Calzaghe.
Kessler will continue to call Joe out on EPSN, HBO or anyone else who will listen to him, yet meanwhile, nothing has been mentioned from the Kessler camp about Warren's statement that July was too soon for the fight to happen, that in itself says more than I could hope to say in this article.
Joe should look to face Jermain Taylor, then he should look to face the winner of Wright vs Hopkins. If it is Hopkins, he can take the Ring Championship and Hopkin's belt at Light Heavyweight and look to unify against Clinton Woods in what could be his last match, against another British opponent, securing a huge pay day and an enduring legacy for Calzaghe.
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