By Chris Cella
Saturday night WBA Super Middleweight Champion Mikkel Kessler (46-2, 35 KO) will again step between the ropes against IBF champion Carl Froch (30-2, 22 KO) to compete for a world title belt, but unlike when the two first met in 2010—a fight Kessler won via unanimous decision—a few things have changed.
Last time these two super middleweight warriors threw hands it was on Kessler’s home turf of Denmark; this time it is in Froch’s back yard in front of thousands of his adoring fans. Also, whereas Kessler last fight was coming in a challenger, he is coming in a belt holder vying for the unified title.
This is a huge fight in the super middleweight division as the winner will move on and get a chance to avenge a loss they each share against super middleweight king Andre Ward.
The tale of the tape between Kessler and Froch nearly reads the same…Kessler is 34, Froch is 35; they are both 6’1”; Kessler’s reach is 74”, Froch’s is 75”.
On paper, and with the implications surrounding this fight, it has the makings to be a fight of the year candidate.
Despite holding a win over Froch’s head in their previous meeting, Kessler knows he is in for a war Saturday night against the IBF champion.
“The hard was has been done, Jimmy Montoya has put me through some very exhausting sessions,” said Kessler. “I’ve had the best sparring of my career against top guys like Nathan Cleverly, George Groves and Erik Skoglund. I am in fantastic shape and I am ready to beat Froch again. Bring it on. Carl has put himself under a lot of pressure. That can make you do stupid things and mistakes. I am in great shape. I couldn’t be more ready. I feel very comfortable. Froch will definitely not get his revenge.”
Since his loss to Ward in 2009, Kessler has won four straight, but has not fought outside of Denmark. The level of competition he has faced has not been as strong as Froch, who has beaten Lucian Bute and Yusaf Mack since suffering a defeat to Ward in 2011, so going into this showdown the playing field is as level as possible.
When the bell rings to commence the first round, both fighters know what is at stake, and they will undoubtedly leave it all in the ring. At the end of the day, one of these top 5 rated super middleweights will exit with a new piece of hardware, and will get the chance to fight to avenge his loss against Andre Ward later in 2013, while it will be back to the drawing board for the other.
The action gets underway Saturday at 6 p.m. on HBO, with a replay being shown at 10 p.m. that night.