|Mikkel Kessler: “I know I am ready for the biggest fight now”
Interview by Gabriel Montoya (Feb 27, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
One of my favorite things about covering big fights in Vegas is the incidental interview. Sitting in the media room the day of the weigh in for Taylor/Pavlik II, I happened to look up from checking my email and into the face of none other than Danish super middleweight Mikkel Kessler. Fresh from a vacation following his first and only loss to Welsh super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe, Kessler was in the States with his promoter as well as his American agent Michael Marley looking for a fight. “Hopkins, Calzaghe, Jeff Lacy, Allan Green, any of them. We’re looking for a fight. Preferably a big one,” said Marley.
Mr. Kessler graciously accepted the opportunity for an impromptu interview so I closed my laptop, grabbed my recorder and went to work.
Gabriel Montoya: So Mikkel, what have you been up to since the Calzaghe fight?
Mikkel Kessler: I’ve been on vacation with my dad in Thailand. Out on the islands there, relaxing after the fight. So we have power and energy left. Now I am starting training again. I’m ready for a new fight.
GM: It was obviously a letdown. How much does it take out of you to put everything into a fight like that and not come away with the victory?
MK: You know it took a lot out of me because I had a bad hand. That thing. And I had to fight out of my own country. After you take the fight, you eat right and you train hard and then you lose. That’s why you have to take a vacation after and relax. It was real hard on me the first maybe two or three weeks because I hadn’t lost before. But I know I can beat this guy because I did so well. That’s my biggest loss.
GM: Do you come away from it reevaluating your style or the things you could have done?
MK: Yeah. Of course. The things I could have done different. You always look at that. But as I say, I don’t want to come with bad excuses. That’s why I said after the fight I don’t have any problems with my hands in the fight. But I had it like three weeks before the fight. But I know for the next fight, everything has to be 100%. And I feel that now I lost one fight out of my forty fights, now I know that next time I will be ready. Now I know how to not get so many injuries. I can only get better from my loss and be a better fighter.
GM: Who do you look to next? Do you want to come to States now that you have been given exposure here on HBO?
MK: Of course I want to stay here in States. This is where the boxing game is. They’re great guys over here. Great exposure and great, great people. Now we have Taylor and Pavlik. I think that’s going to be a great fight. You have Winky Wright, Roy Jones, Jr. I’m just looking to fight one of the good guys.
GM: You fought someone that is at the peak of their powers in Calzaghe. Do you want a tune-up fight do get back in the groove or do you want to go straight to a name?
MK: I know I am ready for the biggest fight now.
GM: Trinidad, Roy Jones…
GM: Would you feel comfortable going to light heavyweight?
MK: My weight is at super middleweight but if I have to lose a little bit or gain a little bit, I would do that of course to win a belt.
GM: When can we see you in the ring again?
MK: Oh, I don’t know. That’s why we are over here.
GM: What was it about Calzaghe that was so difficult for you?
MK: He is the perfect match fighter. Whenever I’d start to make a combination of punches, he’d hold me so I’d start all over. And he was the perfect guy to do that.
GM: Have you ever fought anybody who made mid-round adjustments like that?
MK: He did different things but you know, I should have done different things as well. I had him in the fourth round. And I thought, okay, I can take it easy now because if I can hit him now in the fourth round, I can hit him later. I’d seen some of his fights and I could see that after the seventh and the eight, he’d be real tired. And I was playing safe and I thought I’d have him in the eighth or ninth rounds. But he’d change and he’d hold. He was good that night. He didn’t hurt me. I had him hurt. He didn’t hurt me at all. I tried in the twelfth but I couldn’t. The next time… (He says with a wry smile).
GM: Do you think that is a possibility?
MK: That’s one of my big dreams, but he don’t want to fight me. He told me himself after the fight.
GM: Well, thank you Mikkel. I can see you have a line of guys waiting now to talk to you. Good luck to you and I hope we see you in the ring again real soon.
MK: Oh, thank you. I hope so, too.
Gabriel at: Coyotefeather@gmail.com
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