Standing on the sidelines of a Chiefs-Raider game this weekend in Oakland. Was a true Viking warrior: Mikkel Kessler
Kessler was there are part of the pre-fight media hype for the Andre Ward at Sunday's NFL game at the Oakland Coliseum.
Andre Ward was there too but it was undoubtedly not Andre Ward's first Raider game. Andre Ward is from Oakland and a life-long Riader's and A's fan. Andre Ward is Oakland. He was in his element.
Mikkel Kesler, the WBA Supermiddlewieght champion, may not have felt as comfortable on the sidelines but he is not the first Danish athlete to step on to the field of an NFL stadium.After all the Danish and the NFL have a long history together. The NFL's all time leading scorer is also a man from Copenhagen: Morten Andersen.
Morten Anderson, who retired just two years ago is also the all-time leading scorer of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orlean's Saints having kicked. He kicked 2,544 points in his career which started in 1982 and ended in 2007.
Can Kessler follow his countryman Morten Anderson to sporting success in the U.S? The question for is not can he knock a pigskin through the uprights but can he knockdown Andre Ward.
A knockout would be key for Kessler because it would catapult him to the top of the group standings. Also, The Super Six tournament will still be going long after the next NFL season concludes. The final is likely to be in mid-2011 and Kessler as one of the older fighters in this tournament (though not as old as Taylor or Froch) would be well served to learn the secret of Morten Anderson’s longevity.
Morten Anderson was of course able to have such a long career because he was protected from the tackles and rigors of the NFL game in his role as merely being a kicker. Kessler, like most European champions has been accused of being overly protected in his career.
European boxing champions are often raised on a steady diet of Soft-touches and b-grade fighters. No better example of this is fellow Danish fighter Brian Nielsen, who retired in 2002 with a record of 64-2. Who with the exception of his of his fight with Mike Tyson(knockout loss) made his whole career over fighting over-the-hill fighters and no-names.
This is less the case with Kessler. He has respectable wins over a tough Anthony Mundine and gave Librado Andrade his first loss. He also beat Markus Beyer, a respectable European fighter. Kessler’s only loss was to Joe Calzaghe just three fights ago. Much better competition than the growing Andre Ward has faced.
If you watched the Calzaghe fight (and I know you didn’t because it had the lowest viewership of any HBO boxing event… ever), than you’d know that Kessler held his own against Calzaghe and the fight was close in the first stanza.
In all these fight’s Kessler’s relentless body attack has served him well. That is why he is the favorite to beat Ward. He figures to breakdown the young Andre Ward. Pressuring him and looking for a late round stoppage.
The biggest question about Kessler is that he is occasional fighter. He has fought only 3 times since loosing to Calzaghe and none of those fights were against quality opponents. Maybe the Calzaghe loss took something out of him. We will find out on Saturday.