The good news for fight fans is Mikkel Kessler vs Carl Froch is one of the many match-ups in the Super Six that in-itself makes Showtime a bargain for any fan paying the dollars for the premium channel.
The good news for one time co-favorite Kessler is he's the better and bigger puncher out of the two. He also has the better and busier jab. And the striking viking is going to need to keep that jab in Froch's fache all night. If he does, it should open up the opportunity to land a few big right hands.
If Kessler can come down the middle consistently against Froch which he might, he can do some damage. But some damage is not enough against Froch. Kessler is going to need to take any opportunity to put the Cobra down by throwing caution to the wind because it's no secret which way that same wind will be blowing if Kessler loses two in a row.
No one would question Kessler's effort in his last loss against Ward, and supporters are quick to chalk it up to a bad night, but Kessler seemed to go quietly into that bad night. There was definitely frustration showing in Kessler, but there also seemed to be some acceptance. Which reinforced the acquiescence that seemed apparent in his first loss against Calzaghe. His game plan did not come together, and he was out of options.
Froch goes nowhere quietly. His game plan did not come together against Dirrell, and he reached into his bag of tricks and emptied it, dirty or clean. He even swung the bag itself a few times. He showed that he was tougher than Dirrell and was willing to do anything to win. Dirrell was better, but Froch was bitter and refused to lose.
It was like watching a pitcher who doesn't have his fastball but scuffles around and battles and still picks up a win. Or a basketball player whose outside shot is missing but keeps driving to the basket. Kessler on the other hand was like the pitcher or baller who just doesn't have it that night and stops shooting or compliantly hands the ball over in a pitching change.
A lot of what happened to Kessler versus Ward was surprising to many observers. Ward's speed and elusiveness was expected and a necessity for him to have a chance. But when the fight was brought to close quarters, Ward dominated. Ward brought it to the body better, he out in-fighted Kessler.
So, one kind of fighter (slick and fast) gave Kessler more than he could handle twice. (Calzaghe,Ward) Good news for Kessler is Froch is neither slick nor fast. Bad news is...Froch is as tough as finding a good job. If Kessler could not effectively exchange with a fiery Ward, what will he do against a fire-eater like Froch?
Mikkel better come out with the fight of his life to keep this match-up close enough for a decision to go his way. It is in Denmark after all, and those around the Super Six don't want to see a proven draw like Kessler lost to irrelevancy. That jab better land early and always. His right must be as straight as Froch's nose is crocked to give the hometown scorecards a chance.
If both of these things don't happen, this fight won't be close. Froch simply likes the fight more, he's just too tough, and Kessler just doesn't seem tough enough. Too accepting of losing, too willing wilt, too much sweet, not enough sour.
Froch is going to win the exchanges when their shoes and ears are close. On the outside where Kessler has the advantage, Froch is going to swing big. Kessler doesn't counter and just throwing the big ones seems to keep Mikkel from punching.
Froch wins this one is a split decision that shouldn't be that close. Kessler will show that he is a good boxer with a good chin and heavy hands, and he'll come to fight on Saturday. But Froch is a brute, unwilling to lose and will sellout to get there.
It is easy to imagine Kessler as friends with everybody he's ever been in the ring against. He's likely respected and admired by his peers and his community. Parents surely encourage their children to look up to him.
Conversely, Froch is most likely hated by everyone but his family. He's likely feared and secretly condemned by his peers. Parents pull their children to the other side of the street when they see Froch coming. By the tenth round Kessler is going to wish someone would have done the same for him.