When IBF super middleweight champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch (30-2, 22 KO) and WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel “The Viking Warrior” Kessler (46-2, 35 KO) meet on Saturday, more than their respective titles will be on the line.
The bragging rights between two very proud and talented champions means just as much as the belts at stake.
This is the rematch of an exciting battle that took place in April 2010. Kessler won the first meeting in his homeland of Denmark.
The rematch will be held in Froch’s backyard at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London.
Froch would love to even the score in front of his countrymen; Kessler is determined to prove he’s the better man, no matter the venue.
If you’re a boxing fan, this is a fight you should see. Here’s how you can watch.
When: Saturday, May 25, 6 p.m. ET
Where: O2 Arena (Millennium Dome), Greenwich, London, United Kingdom
Live Stream: Sky Sports (Pay Service and Regional Restrictions)
Highlight of the Hype
Froch Goes a Little Overboard
Did the BBBofC overreact to Froch's "Kill" statement?
Hooks and jabs will break your jaw, but words will never hurt you, right? Not exactly.
In the throes of pre-fight hype, fighters have been known to overstep the bounds of normal trash talk. Remember Mike Tyson once said he would eat Lennox Lewis' children—and they hadn't even agreed to fight.
Froch had a Tyson-like moment on Wednesday—minus a certain level of scary weirdness. Per Boxing Scene and The Daily Star's Kevin Francis, Froch said:
On Saturday night, if I have to, I will kill this f***. Sorry about the language, but I will kill him.
It sounds brutal, it sounds horrible, but this is what it means to me. I'm going to leave it in the ring. And when I'm smashing his face in, I am going to go for the kill. I am going to go for the finish.
It didn't take long for Froch to be taken to task by British Boxing Control. The Cobra has since apologized...
I'm sorry if my comments yesterday offended anyone. This fight means so much to me & emotions are running high. See you at the weigh in.— Carl Froch (@Carl_Froch) May 23, 2013
But in some ways, the damage is done.
The Book on Froch
Trying to Tie Up Loose Ends
In the 1980’s and 1990’s there was an awesome British R&B band called Loose Ends. If you’re a fan of the hip hop soul sub-genre, you may dig their music.
They had a song entitled Time is Ticking. The band’s countryman, Carl Froch, can relate to the title.
At 35 years old, The Cobra is aware he’s in the latter half of his career. He’s not washed up, but he’s attempting to put the exclamation points on a few unfinished statements.
He has only two losses in his career; one to Kessler and the other to pound-for-pound contender, Andre Ward.
In his blog, he talks about seeking revenge for the loss to Ward after this fight is done. He even mentions a possible third fight with Kessler—in the event the second one is as entertaining as the first.
It seems clear, Froch is getting his ducks in a row to retire on his terms; beating Kessler is just the beginning. Froch wants to walk away from the sport with no peer able to say they got the best of the Cobra.
In the Ring
Toughness, long arms and accurate punching are Froch’s best attributes. He’s also a fairly good overall athlete who stays in marvelous shape.
Take a look at this selfy he took of himself a month before the fight.
Froch has the ability to outbox Kessler. He has a speed and a slight reach advantage. In their first fight, the warrior inside of him caused him to stand flat-footed.
As a relatively stationary target for the powerful and counter-punching Kessler, Froch was dazed on two occasions and Kessler dominated the latter rounds.
Froch could win a war against Kessler, but he’d be better served using his quickness and length to out-fox his rival.
The Book on Kessler
The Viking in London
In Kessler’s 48-fight career, he’s fought outside of Denmark just five times. Both of his losses have come in bouts away from The Viking Warrior's homeland.
It takes a lot of courage for him to rematch Froch on his turf.
But it isn’t surprising; these guys have tremendous respect for one another. When their first fight was done, Kessler promised Froch he’d give him chance to avenge the loss.
The chances that he’ll escape London with a decision victory over a popular champion from Nottingham are slim. Kessler probably needs a KO to win this fight.
In light of that, you have to respect his willingness to put it all on the line.
In the Ring
Kessler’s style can wear opponents down. He has very good power, which is evidenced by his 35 knockouts.
Although he is a bit of a plodder, he has a great chin and knows how to cut off the ring. His counterpunching is elite, but he’s rarely mentioned when fans discuss the best in that important category.
The 34-year-old’s timing in this aspect helps to make up for what he doesn’t have in speed in most instances.
His two losses came to Ward and another legendary British fighter, Joe Calzaghe. The common trait both Calzaghe and Ward possess is speed.
As good as Kessler’s timing and instincts are, speed and movement still give him an issue. Enticing Froch into another toe-to-toe battle gives Kessler the best chance to win again.
Froch will be smarter in this fight. He will not fall into the style of fight that camouflages Kessler’s deficiencies. He won’t run, but he’ll be wise enough to keep the exchanges at a pace and distance that benefit him.
He’ll win a unanimous decision to even their career series at one.
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