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Rewritten: Froch vs. Kessler 1

frochkessler

On April 24th 2010, I traveled to Herning Denmark for the first Carl Froch vs Mikkel Kessler fight. It was phase two in the SuperSix World Boxing Classic, and if we’re being honest, the fight everybody most wanted to see from day one of the competition. Now, two of the pre-tournament favourites were both coming off rough opening round match ups: Kessler was defeated by the eventual overall winner Andre Ward in Oakland, while Froch struggled in a split decision win over Andre Dirrell at home. Both men needed a big performance in Herning to keep themselves amongst the top runners at 168 pounds.

The fight itself was everything we thought it might be and then some – amongst the most physically demanding contests I have ever seen. Kessler won the judges favour on the night taking a close decision. The conversation amongst press afterward centered on scoring, a possible rematch, and how either of these guys could recover in time for the next stage of the competition. Indeed, I myself feared that both men had just ruled themselves out, and I was half right. Kessler’s eye injury stopped him playing any further part in the boxing classic. Froch though, the SuperSix’s man of steel, was back in action before the year was over – this time trashing Arthur Abraham in Finland.

Froch vs Kessler 1 ended up being my 2010 fight of the year. That night from ringside I scored the bout 115-114 for Froch. With the London leg coming up this weekend, I’m taking a look back at that first encounter and re-scoring it; this time using the original UK PPV broadcast from Primetime. I have include my round by round breakdown and scorecard, as well as my original scores from the night and GG’s live scoring for Fight Game Blog of the Showtime airing. Three different angles on a SuperSix classic. This is the rewrite.


I have included the full fight in the player below, if you want to join in with us.

Round 1

Cautious start from both as you would expect from their first round in the ring together. Kessler looking to establish his jab early but hasn’t yet found his range. Froch happy to take a step back and have a look at him, while picking the counters when they’re there. Both very respectful of the other’s power. This is a round I don’t think anyone did enough to win. I wonder will their approaches to round 1 changes on Saturday, now that they have the experience of this fight to draw on.

Now: 10-10
Live: 10-9 Kessler
GG’s Score: 10-10

Round 2

Kessler out of the blocks fast in round two and pushing Froch on the back foot. It’s no secret that Mikkel is a far better fighter moving forward. He’s working nicely with the lead and trying to bring the right into play. Carl is over stretched and sort of flicking with the jab. First clear round goes to the Dane.

Now: 10-9 Kessler
Live: 10-9 Kessler
GG’s Score: 10-9 Kessler

Round 3

This is one of Froch’s traditionally slow starts from during this period in his career. He is still boxing in a very reactive way. He’s allowing himself to be moved around the ring by Kessler and is still struggling to get his timing down. Kessler’s jab has been the most effective weapon up to this point.

Now: 10-9 Kessler
Live: 10-9 Kessler
GG’s Score: 10-9 Kessler

Round 4

Robert McCracken notices the way the fight is starting to pan out. In the minute between rounds, he tells Froch he needs to take away the Kessler jab. Carl finds a couple of his own jabs and all of a sudden he’s in the fight. He follows up with a clean, crisp right – the best shot from either man so far. They trade big in the last minute. This is where it starts to catch fire. Froch is off the mark.

Now: 10-9 Froch
Live: 10-9 Froch
GG’s Score: 10-9 Froch

Round 5

Froch Marauding forward now. Kessler takes a tumble midway through the round and it’s ruled a slip. He was off balance more than anything. Froch did have him rattled late though – Kessler bought a decoy lead, and Carl came straight through the middle with the right. Heated round.

Now: 10-9 Froch
Live: 10-9 Kessler
GG’s Score: 10-9 Froch

Round 6

Super effort from Kessler in this round. I get the impression he really needed it. Froch was starting to find a real foothold in the fight and he had to nip out that momentum. Mikkel was prepared to take some risks to land his own shots and it paid off for him. For the first time you get the sense that Froch is feeling his power.

Now: 10-9 Kessler
Live: 10-9 Froch
GG’s Score: 10-9 Kessler

Round 7

Good outside work from Kessler. He’s starting to mix in body shots to now, and it seems to have stifled Froch’s rhythm. The Cobra can’t find anything to build off. Froch is shaken by a glancing blow to the back of the head late – unintentional but definitely illegal.

Now: 10-9 Kessler
Live: 10-9 Froch
GG’s Score: 10-9 Kessler

Round 8

Froch is leading more in this round. It’s all single shots, but he was controlling the session on activity, up until Kessler walked him onto a right hand with a minute left on the clock. It caused Froch to buckle a little at the knees. That was the type of shot that I have seen Kessler end fights with. Most other guys in the division would have at least taken a count. Froch is just different full stop.

Now: 10-9 Kessler
Live: 10-9 Kessler
GG’s Score: 10-9 Kessler

Round 9

Really close round. They took 90 seconds each. Kessler very busy early, Froch reckless but effective late. When Froch cranked up the heat, you could see Kessler was beginning to feel the pace for the first time. A possible breakthrough for the Cobra.

Now: 10-9 Froch
Live: 10-9 Froch
GG’s Score: 10-9 Froch

Round 10

Serious urgency in Froch’s corner. They know this is the pivotal moment in the fight. He’s clearly trailing at this point, but momentum is back on his side, and he needs to ramp up the pressure and make it count. Kessler’s eye is now a mess to, to add to to his problems. Carl finding some combination at last. Big effort by Kessler, but the more worthwhile work is that of the Nottingham man.

Now: 10-9 Froch
Live: 10-9 Froch
GG’s Score: 10-9 Froch

Round 11

Another coin flip type round. The story in the second half of this fight has been Kessler opening big and then fading, with Froch starting slow and building as the round progresses. In this one, I thought Froch nicked it with his rally late. Looks to have that bit more left in the tank.

Now: 10-9 Froch
Live: 10-9 Froch
GG’s Score: 10-9 Kessler

Round 12

This is one of the best damn rounds I have ever seen in my life. Pure guts – I have no idea how either of these guys produced that type of effort after the eleven rounds previous. It was fought in waves – Froch then Kessler, Froch then Kessler. Neither giving an inch, nothing to split them. Round 1; I said nobody deserved to win, round 12: nobody deserved to lose. I couldn’t decide a fight on a round like that.

Now: 10-10
Live: 10-10
GG’s Score: 10-10


Scorecard totals:

Judges scores: 117-111, 115-113 and 116-112 all for Kessler.
On the night I scored it 115-114 Froch. Rewatching it I couldn’t split them at 115-115 even.
GG scored the bout 116-114 Kessler.

Final Thoughts:

Leaving the arena, I felt this was at most a two point fight either way. My gut was that Froch had done just enough to shade it and hold on to his title, but I could easily see how others had it narrowly for Kessler. The fight was close and the individual rounds were even tighter.

Looking back at the bout now, my overall scorecard has only been altered by a single point- enough to change it from a Froch win to an outright draw – but the route I took to get there was quite different – I switched my scores in four of the twelve rounds. Out of the eight I left unchanged, I was in agreement with GG on seven of them – 3 were for Froch, 3 were for Kessler, and we both saw the final round as being split – still deadlocked.

I changed the opener from a Kessler round to a draw, which I feel is probably more accurate. I also flip-flopped my scores for each of rounds 5, 6 and 7, and that’s more than enough leeway to swing a fight as close as this one. For me, it’s that three round stretch that decided who won and lost this fight. Live; I had it for Froch, watching it on tape; I couldn’t split them, but just looking at it as a fight overall, I think the night belonged to Kessler. On Saturday we begin round 13!

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2 thoughts on “Rewritten: Froch vs. Kessler 1

  1. This is awesome! I wished I would’ve seen it earlier so I could’ve promoted it better. Bummer! Nice job here. That was fun to read again.

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