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Boxing Perspective: Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler

As the first stage of the Super Six Tournament has been and gone, some questions have been answered whilst some remain.

Arthur Abraham did exactly what every-one predicted he would do; tucked up for the majority of every round but without letting the points stack up against him, riding out the storm, and toward the last minute of each frame would unleash hard, wild, looping hooks to head and body that quite visibly shook up Jermain Taylor.

Taylor was again slightly unlucky when he was levelled in the 12th round as he did not see the right hand coming, and it ended him. However, it was a good display from Abraham, who had a good game plan that he stuck to, showing us all the power he has when he lets his hands go.

Carl Froch tackled Andre Dirrell, whom we had not seen a lot of, and the majority of people thought it would be a repeat performance of the Taylor fight, while in fact it was Taylor who produced the repeat performance that night.

When first writing about the Super Six Tournament, my previous prediction was that Froch would stop Dirrell, but in reality Froch could not catch Dirrell.

Dirrell was sharp, fleet of hand and foot, his punches were clean and accurate, especially on the counter and the only thing going against him in this fight was that he did not want to get involved in a toe-to-toe war with Froch, which is understandable.

Froch was almost exposed in this fight, in which he was very, repeat, very lucky to get away with the win.

Next up for Froch is Mikkel ‘The Viking Warrior’ Kessler, who’s glittering 42-1 (32) record has only been sullied by the top super middleweight of the last ten years, Joe Calzaghe.

Kessler has been touted as the favourite as soon as it was announced that he was in the tournament, and for good reason with that record, but the only real names that anyone would recognize on his resume are Markus Beyer, Anthony Mundine, Librado Andrade and of course, Calzaghe.

Kessler faces Andre Ward on November 21. Ward will have a game plan for Kessler, as after all, Calzaghe beat the Dane, proving that it can be done, and he did it by heart and work rate alone.

This should be interesting in the respect that we will probably see Andre Ward put through his first real test, just as we saw Dirrell put through his against Froch.

Either way, this will be a good fight and regardless of whom wins, likely Kessler, Froch gets Kessler next.

The Ward fight is, apart from the points the fighters get for the tournament, academic as far as Carl Froch is concerned, as he already knows that Kessler can be out-worked but Froch just doesn’t fight like that and will try to pot shot and counter.

The Dirrell fight showed more of Froch though; we know that he does not carry his hands high, something he has brought through from his amateur and domestic days.

Unfortunately at this world level, in this tournament, Froch leaves himself wide open, and yes, his granite chin helps him here, but allows his opponent to pretty much score at will. He was not countering effectively against Dirrell, nor was he elusive enough to roll or move out of the way of the incoming punches.

So if Froch’s defense is lackluster and he does not have the highest work-rate in the world, the question to be asked is; Can he win the tournament on heart and chin alone? No scratch that…can he win his next fight on heart and chin alone?

It may sound like an attack on Froch here, but it is not; he is a world class operator, its just that in that last fight with Dirrell he was exposed and had that fight been stateside, he would not still be the WBC champion.

In the Taylor fight, we saw Froch dig deep after being knocked down to rally late and stop Taylor, a fantastic performance.

Dirrell got stick after the fight from Froch, who said that the American did not come to fight, and that he was merely running away…some would say that he was boxing clever. Dirrell had his game plan and he stuck to it. Dirrell did have a point deducted for excessive holding, which was a fair call, but with this being just his 19th pro fight, the infraction was forgivable, as this is still a bit of a learning curve for him and a steep one at that.

By comparison had Mayweather gone toe-to-toe with Marquez a month ago, it could have been a completely different fight, but it wasn’t, Floyd was elusive, that’s what he did because that’s how the pretty boy fights.

Mayweather was boxing clever, sticking and moving, catching on the counter, yet he gets no stick but rather worldwide recognition securing his reputation as quite possibly the finest technical operator in the game.

Dirrell isn’t the next Pretty Boy Floyd, and was nowhere as punch perfect as Mayweather, but he got the short straw in the Froch fight. Someone as widely experienced as Kessler will be able to take advantage of Froch’s shortcomings.

Both Kessler and Froch have good chins, and they can bang, which all but ensures a thrilling contest.

Bottom line is that Kessler is technically brilliant but he is not as fast as Dirrell, so yes, he should be able to expose some of Froch’s flaws. But Kessler isn’t quick enough and tends not to get on the back foot, so in theory, he should sit there and bang away with Froch, which is what Froch wants.

All speculation aside, Froch has now fought some good names and even when the odds are stacked against him, he has prevailed and come away with the win, so no one can write him off.

The fight should go the distance, and both could possibly hit the deck, but will get up to carry on the fight. It also depends on where this fight takes place; if it’s in Germany or Denmark , Froch will have to work very hard to come away with a points win as this is a unification of Kessler’s WBA belt and Froch’s WBC belt, same rules reversed if the fight is in Britain .

The Kessler vs. Ward fight should reveal a lot about Kessler, but as far as most are concerned, Kessler is the man to beat. Froch can do it, but it will be a hard nights work.

About Nick Chamberlain

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