Super Six World Boxing Classic Preview – Mikkel Kessler Vs. Andre Ward
Tonight sees Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward face off for the WBA Super Middleweight title in Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic.
This is Andre Ward’s chance to make a real name for himself in the Super Middleweight division. Ward is a Gold medalist from the 2004 Olympics, who has gone undefeated in 20 bouts since turning pro. The guy is a superb natural athlete, incredibly quick, and has exceptional technical skills. He has everything that is required to become a breakout star, but he has never truly been tested inside the professional ring. Tonight, he will be.
My feeling going into this tournament was that both he and Andre Dirrell were in over their head. Dirrell surprised me with how well he handled the step up against Froch. But make no mistake about it; Andre Ward drew the short straw here. In Kessler, not only is he facing the first real challenge of his career, but also the best 168 pound fighter on the planet. No pressure.
This is a colossal jump in standard for Ward. Andre’s best win was a decision over Edison Miranda earlier this year. I was impressed with the way in which he dealt with that fight. It was a mature performance, but Miranda had nothing that night. This was a far cry from the man that nearly wrecked Arthur Abraham back in 2006. And well….Edison Miranda is not Mikkel Kessler.
Kessler is an excellent Super Middleweight with big fight experience. He boxed Joe Calzaghe in front of 50,000 people in Wales. He will not be fazed by having to fight in Ward’s back yard. He’s strong, durable, and he’s a guy who is always looking to finish fights. There is power behind every shot he throws, and he’s been tested at the highest level. He blew the cobwebs away in the four round demolition of Gusmyr Perdomo back in September,and he’s coming into this fight ready to go.
I believe Andre Ward can win world titles, but just not tonight. This fight has come too soon in my opinion. I think Ward’s chin is still a huge question mark. He has been hurt several times against lesser opponents, and you just can’t afford errors like that against a boxer of Kessler’s quality. Ward will struggle to find an answer for Kessler’s superior power, and will be stopped inside the distance.
Prediction: Kessler by KO in Round 9