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Warriors’ Call Preview – Carl Froch vs Mikkel Kessler II

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig
Froch vs Kessler 1 was on out and out classic. A true rarity. It’s rare we see two boxers so evenly matched at the highest level of the sport, and rarer still we find two whose styles perfectly gel. Tactical, brutal, dramatic; Froch/Kessler was quite simply what championship boxing is all about. Tonight, two of the great Super Middleweights meet once more.

In breaking down any rematch, the first place we always look is the last fight. What did we learn from it? This time it gives away very little. While stylistically different, in terms of skill these two were very much each others equals. Kessler works better off the jab/straight, Froch makes up for it with versatility. Kessler may have a touch more one punch power, but Froch might be a slight tougher. Either way, both can bang and take a shot with the best of them. There was no one area from fight one that you would point to as an advantage this time out. If there is any edge to be gained from what happened in Herning, it’s a basic one: and it’s that Kessler came away with the win. He knows he can beat Carl Froch simply because he’s already done it.

The second factor to weigh up is who has had the greater improvement or deterioration since. Kessler has been relatively inactive. He spent a long time on the shelf after he was ruled out of the SuperSix. His three fights since returning to the ring have come against decent, but not top level competition. A knockdown against Allan Green is being read to much into. Kessler was caught cold early, and Green to his credit, is a monstrous puncher. The Viking Warrior shook it off quickly, went on to dominate, and put away Green with a highlight reel KO in 4. Last time out, Kessler looked sharp, taking apart the very competent and tough Brian Magee in a manner nobody had ever done previously. He’s shown improved body work since his layoff. And his power and finishing instincts look as strong as they ever where.

Froch likely has had the hardest run of consecutive fights of any high level boxer. He has fought the best consistently since stepping up to title level against Jean Pascal in late 2008. The closest he’s come to a tune up fight since was in his last outing against Yusaf Mack, and Mack was a perfectly adequate opponent for a first defense. The breakthrough for Froch though, I feel came in the Bute fight. That was a must win for him, and having his back against the wall, brought something more out of him. The way he performed that night has given him a confidence, and it’s a belief he carries with him now.

The final element is motivation. This is where I feel Froch has his biggest advantage. For The Cobra, it’s the biggest fight of his career. This bout will play a huge part in determining his legacy. He wants to avenge that first professional defeat. It’s a loss that’s haunted him, and he’s driven by it.

For Kessler, I won’t say it’s just another fight because it isn’t. It’s a big night for him to, but I’m not sure it’s on the same level as it is for Froch. He’s beaten the Nottingham man before, so there’s not as much for him to gain. There is a lot of mutual respect between these two.I think Mikkel knows this is the best fight out-there for him, but I also believe that he wants to give Froch the same opportunity Froch gave him by going to Denmark. I have no doubt Kessler is up for this fight in a big way, but maybe he doesn’t have that same hellbent determination of Froch. That could be the difference.

I know a lot of people are backing a late stoppage on either side; but my feeling is that if there’s going to be a finish, it will come early. Once they have both warmed to the task, I think they will both be able to take whatever the other guy can throw at them. It was razor close last time and I’m expecting much the same type of fight here. The difference this time could be the venue. In Denmark, Kessler tired late, and I think the crowd helped carry him over the finish line. Froch always finishes strong, and with 18,000 people behind him in London, I think he will pull away down the stretch. I’m picking Froch, close but clear.

Prediction: Froch on points
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