By Clive Bernath. British boxing fans will be treated to a good old fashioned punch up when Carl Froch makes the second defence of his IBF super middleweight title against Mikkel Kessler at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. For far too long some high profile British boxers have talked a good fight only to come up embarrassingly short but when Froch and Kessler finally face each other in the ring on Saturday we know exactly what we are going to get-an out and out war between two proven ring Warriors.
This of course is a rematch of their April, 2010 battle in Showtimes’s Super Six tournament which Kessler won via 12 round decision in his home country of Denmark. Kessler always promised his British rival a rematch in England and has duly kept his word.
The first fight was closer than the judges 115-113,116-112 and 117-111 verdict in my humble opinion but I felt Kessler did enough to nick the decision. The key to victory for Kessler was the way in which he executed the jab against the hands down style of Froch, who for his part did not use his left jab enough. Froch spent the first part of the fight on the back foot as Kessler rained in the jab, looking for the right hand over the top. The Englishman allowed Kessler to dictate the pace of the fight for long periods in the first fight which ultimately not only cost him his unbeaten record but also the WBC super-middleweight crown.
That was three years ago and whilst Froch has been defeated by American world No.1 Andre Ward since then, it is he who has enjoyed the greater success. That greater success was never more evident than back in May, 2012 when he impressively destroyed the undefeated Canadian Lucian Bute inside five rounds to claim the IBF super-middleweight crown. As for Kessler, following the win over Froch the 34 year-old Danish legend was forced to take a year out after sustaining a serious eye injury in sparring, which he claims he suffered in the run up to the Andre Ward fight in November 2009 and still hampered him in the Froch fight, which is why he withdrew from Super Six Tournament. Kessler’s career hung in balance for a while but thankfully he has made a full recovery and gone on to fight three times since he fought Froch.
After routine wins over Mehdi Bouadia and American puncher Allan Green the ‘Great Dane’ destroyed Irishman Brian Magee with sustained body shots over three rounds to claim the WBA super-middleweight crown.
Froch starts the bookies favourite and rightly so considering his form and level of activity. The feeling is that Kessler has lost his edge since sustaining the eye injury and that could be a major factor on the night. Froch is also fiercely driven by the desire for revenge which could be his undoing. All things considered If Froch takes the fight to Kessler and nullifies his jab early I can see him clinching a tight but deserved decision to set up the rubber match.