Super Middleweight - Let the golden era begin! Kessler, Green, Miranda, Zuniga, Lacy Mundine, Berrio, More
17.11.07 - By Jim Dorney: Let me begin by applauding both Mikkel Kessler & Joe Calzaghe for a fantastic fight. Theirs was truly a battle for the ages, and rarely have I seen such skill, power, will & desire to win in two fighters, who despite their determination conducted themselves like true gentlemen throughout.
Article posted on 17.11.2007
Both men have come through the fight as winners - Calzaghe won the fight, the titles & the final recognition as the elite fighter he has always been, whilst Kessler proved without doubt that he is a great fighter in his own right by giving Calzaghe the best fight of his career & hurting him on a number of occasions, especially early on. Kessler won the hearts of many British fans, and only strengthened his hold over his Danish fan contingent by his great performance. The question is - what happens next?
I view the Kessler-Calzaghe fight as the start of a new great era at 168lbs.
Because for the first time, the division has been validated by the quality of the fighters who haven't viewed the division as a stepping-stone to light-heavyweight or a stopgap from middleweight. Calzaghe has fought at 12 stone for his entire career thus far, and Kessler, whilst starting his career at middleweight has been at 168lbs for several years, and certainly isn't likely to drop down in weight given his physique.
The division has had great champions before - Examples include James Toney, Nigel Benn, Thomas Hearns, Roy Jones Jnr., Chris Eubank & Steve Collins, and the mid-90s was seen as being a great era for 12 stone fighters, particularly British fighters, as Eubank, Benn, Collins & Michael Watson fought memorable bouts. However - great as those fights were, nothing has approached the validity & gravitas that surrounded Calzaghe-Kessler.
Here, the world seemed to agree, were arguably the best two fighters the short-lived division had ever seen. Both were credible, established world champions, both were undefeated (neither ever really being that close to defeat) and neither of them had a single discernible weakness in their armoury. As long as the fight delivered, the winner had to be credited as the
first all-time great 168lbs has ever seen - And boy did the fight deliver!
Calzaghe has talked about moving to light-heavyweight for years, and now it seems the move may finally happen. I believe this will only help raise the profile of the super-middleweight division, as having now established its first super champion, the world has had its eyes opened to the wealth of talent currently operating at 12 stone.
Whilst Calzaghe is rightfully seen as undisputed champion, Lucian Bute recently won the IBF strap, and has established himself as a serious proposition. A WBC final elimination bout between undefeated ex-amateur rivals Carl Froch & Denis Inkin has just
been announced, which promises to be an interesting & even match-up. Sakio Bika has just beaten Jaidon Codrington in arguably the first & only worthwhile bout 'The Contender' has yet staged, and whilst he might not have the flair of a Calzaghe (we've already seen Bika fail there) or a Kessler, the word 'contender' seems apt enough.
But it doesn't end there, here are some of the other names who are currently in the super-middleweight mix:
...plus many more.
In terms of my own prediction for the future of the division, I can see Mikkel Kessler proving that he's a little bit special & rising to the top, as he would have done had pretty much anyone but Joe Calzaghe been in his way. I can see a number of the fighters in the mix giving Mikkel a decent fight for it, but Kessler is the real deal, and if he wants it, could prove to be the second all-time great at 168lbs.
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