The following is from Carl Froch, who faces Mikkel Kessler this Saturday in London, live on HBO and Sky Box Office.
For any top class boxer, the chance to avenge a defeat is massive. I don't lose many fights and neither does Mikkel, but when you do, the first instinct is to see them the next day and fight again. Three years have passed since the defeat in Herning - I wouldn't say it bothers me every day but to finish my career without the opportunity to face Mikkel again would be tough to swallow. I feel the same about Andre Ward too, but it's less intense as Mikkel and I are cut from the same cloth - proper fighters who put it all on the line and go toe-to-toe in battle.
Does the defeat irritate me? Of course. Do I feel cheated by it? No. When a fight is as good as the first one and you don't win you are down after the event and you look at things in the fight that perhaps didn't go your way. But I lost that fight fair and square - I've got no problem with the decision and it still remains a pleasure and privilege to have been involved in one of the best fights for a long, long time in both Denmark and in the super middleweight division - but it would have been better if I'd won of course!
Physically I'm in fantastic shape. I am a clean liver - I don't drink or smoke and I don't really like fast food. I don't balloon up during fights and that's obviously a huge advantage as I can concentrate on the fight without worrying about making weight. I'm in a great place mentally too - my little girl Natalia arrived a couple of weeks ago and both baby and Mum, Rachael, are doing great. Her arrival has been perfectly timed as it was a nice distraction from the training and then I refocused and became even more energised
I can understand that people would have this as a pick'em fight as we're both World class operators with huge power and with punch resistance - it's the reason why it's the most hotly anticipated pure boxing match for some time now. I believe I will win, Mikkel believes he will win - Kalle and Nisse Sauerland will think they can come to England and return with two belts, Eddie Hearn knows I am going to win, my fans are coming to cheer me to victory, Mikkel's fans are travelling over to have a title party in London. My point? Everyone has an opinion because it matters - this fight has captured everyone's imagination and the pundits down to the casual boxing fan all have their opinions which is fantastic - even though ultimately, only Mikkel and I will decide who takes the glory.
I don't like to look beyond the fight and think ‘what if...?' as the focus is solely on Mikkel. A defeat would be a bitter pill to swallow and two losses to the same man is tough. The positives are what I am looking at - huge fights with Andre Ward and George Groves are possibilities, and if the second fight is as good as the first, maybe we'll do it again.
It's round 13 from three years ago. We'll pick up where we left off and it's going to be action packed. Like animals, it's our instinct to fight and that's just what people are going to get, fireworks. It's going to be one of those nights that if you are not there and not watching on TV, you are going to regret it as you'll miss something truly special.
CARL FROCH VS. MIKKEL KESSLER II is presented live from the O2 Arena in London, SATURDAY, MAY 25 (6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT), exclusively on HBO. The fight also has a prime-time replay later the same day at 10:00 p.m. (ET/ PT).