It’s interesting to note that Carl “The Cobra” Froch and Mikkel “The Viking Warrior” Kessler, who meet for the second time at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday, are friends. From all reports, the two fighters grew close after their first encounter in Denmark on April 24, 2010.
On that night three years ago, Kessler, fighting in front of his hometown fans, won a hard fought unanimous decision in what many considered the best bout of the Super Six Boxing Classic.
The stakes are higher this time around. Both fighters are champions. Froch (30-2, 22 KOs) is the IBF super middleweight champion, while Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs) claims the WBA belt. More importantly, a big money rematch with Andre Ward, the only fighter to defeat both men, could be in the cards for the winner.
Yesterday, during the final news conference, with Kessler a few feet away, Froch, 36, let loose with a quote that shocked many.
“If I have to kill to keep my title then I will,” said Froch to The Daily Mail’s Jeff Powell. “In fact, the way I feel now, I want to do him serious damage. Yes, kill him.”
Weren't they friends?
Could the pressure be getting to Froch?
Kessler, 34, commented via his Twitter account.
Carl Froch says he wants to kill me - that’s not very polite :))
If Froch was trying to psych out Kessler it didn't work. He wants his revenge.
So will he get it on May 25?
Froch, 35, is a legitimate tough guy. He’ll fight anybody. He carries his hands low, relying on a strong chin and an ability to counterpunch. The Froch offense is built around an up-jab fired from different angles. He also likes to work off his back foot. His jolting shots come suddenly and can be effective against a come forward fighter like Kessler.
Kessler is a strong boxer-puncher. His jab is stiff and consistent. He likes to force the action and utilize his physicality. His combination punching can be deadly. Kessler's favorite punch is his right hand. Last year a perfect left hook put Allan Green to sleep.
Seven months ago, Froch overwhelmed Yusaf Mack in three rounds. Prior to that, he destroyed the favored Lucian Bute in five. The Bute fight is a key in understanding Froch. He’s driven by a strong determination and self-belief. His confidence took a hit after Ward (who will be at ringside working for HBO) easily handled him.
The Bute fight proved that Froch had rediscovered his mojo.
Kessler was out of action for more than a year due to an eye injury suffered during the Super Six Classic. He returned to stop Mehdi Bouadla in six, but soon hurt his hand in training. After another lengthy absence from the ring, Kessler tangled with Green. In the opening stanza, he kissed the canvas courtesy of a Green right hand. Up at the count of six, but on shaky legs, Kessler knocked out his American opponent in round four.
Though older by almost two years, Froch looks to have more left in his tank. Injuries and wear and tear have had an effect on Kessler. In addition, it’s Froch who has the advantage, this time, of fighting at home.
Froch will either stop Kessler in round ten or win by a unanimous decision.
Let the negotiations with Andre Ward begin.