Boxing


Calzaghe Decisions Kessler

03.11.07 - By Matthew Hurley: In a fast past bout Joe Calzaghe won a clear cut unanimous decision over Mikkel Kessler in front of 53,000 fans at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. The bout was fought for the unified super middleweight crown. Calzaghe used his superior speed and footwork to both offset Kessler’s jab and back the bigger fighter up, negating his power. After a brisk start contested evenly over three rounds Calzaghe began to dictate the rhythm of the bout by using quick right jabs and constant upper body movement to thwart Kessler’s straightforward attack..

As the bout entered the middle rounds Calzaghe began backing Kessler up with volume punching and the bigger Dane was having difficulty setting up power shots off the back foot. But just when it seemed that Calzaghe had completely turned the tide, Kessler connected with a vicious right uppercut that halted Calzaghe’s progression. It seemed, when Kessler landed the shot again, that he had finally found the weapon of choice to shift the fight’s momentum back in his favor.

But Calzaghe’s strong chin never failed him and getting hit only appeared to re-energize him. Kessler opened the eighth round strongly but with a minute left Calzaghe connected with a four-punch combination that ended in a sharp right hand to the body that hurt Kessler. At that moment the referee jumped in to warn Calzaghe for hitting the back of the head. A perplexed Calzaghe then walked straight into a quick left hook from Kessler before the round ended.

Calzaghe then took the ninth, tenth and eleventh rounds with sheer aggression as a tiring Kessler looked to land one big shot to save his title. Kessler never stopped trying and took the twelfth round with his desperate attack but it was too little too late.

Calzaghe won by scores of 117-111 and 116-112 twice.

Both fighters were complimentary of each other after the bout.

“Yes he hurt me with the body shot,” Kessler commented, his record dropping to 39-1. “I would definitely like a rematch but I would have to change my tactics. He spoiled my boxing and when I landed the uppercut I should have continued to press him. I will just have to train harder.”

Calzaghe, who improved to 44-0, was gracious in victory. “I don’t know where I’d rank this one (among performances). He was very strong and he stunned me a couple times with the uppercut. But I felt in control from about the fourth round on. I think the jab and the body shots got to him. I heard him wince, but he was very strong and sometimes I got a little careless.”

Calzaghe then went on to call out Bernard Hopkins. “Why not Hopkins? He’s been talking about me for so long now. Let’s do it.”

The fight left little doubt as to who the best in the division is and no doubt as to Joe Calzaghe’s worth in the pound for pound rankings. The many critics who have labeled him overrated over the years can no longer deny him. And Kessler proved his toughness and heart in the biggest fight of his career. Even when the fight seemed out of reach going into the twelfth round the proud “Viking Warrior” kept looking for the knockout. He will be back.

Article posted on 04.11.2007



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