Froch vs. Kessler: Don’t call it a Comeback

by Rik Hine - Fighting tonight in front of his own fans, Dane Mikkel Kessler is hoping to earn another Super Middleweight title and make the mathematics more complicated in the Showtime ‘Super-Six’ Tournament. Facing him from the other corner will be England’s Carl Froch, a man who makes Paulie Malignaggi look like he’s lacking in confidence..

Late last November, Kessler, the pre-tournament favourite, got more than just his ego bruised in a punishing one-sided TKO loss against Andre Ward. Consequently, the critics started circling Kessler like sharks: a loss tonight will have him exiting the tournament, stage right, and the only thing he’ll have left, is the memory of losing at the very highest level.

On the other hand, the feeling is that Froch is just the kind of fighter that Kessler feeds on, and that this will be his ticket back into the big time. Froch is the slowest fighter of the ‘Super-Six’ and he seems either unable or unwilling to employ a defence. Neither of these factors bode well for him against the fast, mobile, hard-hitting Dane.

A little more than a month before Ward ambushed Kessler, 'The Cobra' squeaked by Andre Dirrell in a bout that might best be titled ‘Can’t fight, Won’t Fight;’ Froch looked like he was moving under water and Dirrell held on to him like he was afraid of drowning. Whilst Dirrell’s subsequent win over Arthur Abraham arguably makes Froch look better than his critics will admit, the consensus on Carl is that he can’t keep it up at this level of competition.

So who will be hurting in Herning? Well it certainly won’t be the fans. Kessler and Froch always come to fight and both of them are aware that a big win is essential. Neither man is noted for a weak chin, so a twelve round war looks likely. However, I have my doubts that this is the right fight for Kessler.

Mikkel is always best when he doesn’t have to go looking for his opponent, but this tactic will suit the slower Froch too. My feeling is that if Jermain Taylor couldn’t keep Froch at bay for a full twelve rounds, then neither can Kessler. Kessler looks like a different fighter when he is taken out of his game plan, or his opponent doesn’t fold. I think the Dane’s pride will let him get sucked into a war with the durable, confident Carl Froch and the ‘Viking Warrior’ may well end up being carried out on his shield.

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Article posted on 23.04.2010

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