Carl Froch (26-0) brought his WBC Super Middleweight title to Mikkel Kessler's (42-2) home country of Denmark for a shot at redemption after winning a disputed split decision against American Andre Dirrell in his hometown of Nottingham, England. Kessler also is looking to reclaim lost glory after losing badly to another American, Super Six favorite Andre Ward.
Kessler, especially, is looking for redemption after being badly outclassed by Ward and then showing no class after the fight. Mikkel whined loudly about being fouled and that he had been jobbed because the fight had been held on American soil. For a fighter who had made his reputation on a stirring defeat to Super Middleweight legend Joe Calzaghe, he showed such little class that he was vilified in the press afterwards.
In front of 10,000 rabid fans the fighters came out with Froch being intensely booed as only an opposing country can do. They both measure in at 6'1" 1/2 and 167 with Froch having a three-inch reach advantage. The judges are from Belgium, Belgium, and Italy, respectively.
The Showtime team including Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver do the pre-fight, Jimmy Lennon does the ring Introductions and we are ready to go:
The bell rings and the fighters come out, with Froch's length early on working to his advantage in round one. Kessler moved forward but Froch jabbed effectively and landed an occasional right hand.
Froch fights with his left hand down and Kessler lands some body shots, but he seems happy to jab. Kessler had Froch backed into a corner but let him out. Bernstein says Kessler is being aggressive, but I see Froch picking him apart through the first two rounds.
Round one: Froch.
Round two: Kessler.
In round three, Kessler was much more aggressive, landing body shots and jabs in the first minute. Froch displays his awkwardness by doing a pirouette. Kessler stalked throughout the round while Froch landed some counter lefts and a few rights, but it was Kessler's round based on aggressiveness and clean jabs and body shots. Advantage: Kessler
Round four: Carl Froch comes out with four left hooks and uses his shoulder to defend against Kessler's jab. Froch follows up later with a big right hand and an uppercut. Kessler spent the round landing jabs and an occasional right hand but Froch was more aggressive and took it to Kessler. Advantage: Froch
Round five: Kessler came out stalking and jabbing early but Froch takes control with a big left hook followed by a couple of big rights. Their feet tangle and Kessler goes down and the crowd goes eerily silent. Froch landed his jab all round long and with 15 seconds left in round he lands a crushing right hand that staggers Kessler. Froch owned him all round long. Advantage: Froch
Round six: Kessler does not appear to be listening to his new trainer Jimmy Montoya about backing straight up. Kessler comes out aggressively and lands a nice left hook. Froch is coasting all round which is strange because he had Kessler hurt at the end of round five. Kessler stalked him relentlessly, landed good jabs, and a couple of solid right hands. Advantage: Kessler
Round seven: In the first minute Froch jabbed effectively and kept Kessler off him, but Kessler keeps stalking and throwing good jabs. Boom, he lands a good inside uppercut. Keesler jumped on Froch at end of round with a combination that missed except for right to back of head but it is enough to win the round. Froch is on siesta for some reason. Advantage: Kessler
Round eight: Froch comes out strong in the first minute, but Kessler is undeterred and keeps stalking and seems to hurt Froch, whose punch production is down and isn't using his right hand. Froch throws left hooks and jabs with left, and then he throws the right hand and is countered perfectly by Kessler with a short right.
Boom! Froch blinks his eyes, legs wobble, and Kessler chases him and throws wildly but can't finish him before the bell. Advantage: Kessler
Round nine: Froch comes out and looks like he has his legs under him, but he has a bad cut on the bridge if his nose and it looks broke. He is throwing that unorthodox twisting jab and hits Kessler with an uppercut in the first minute.
Kessler is still the busier fighter, continuing to jab effectively and throw a looping right hand. Tarver wonders where Kessler's nice straight right went. There is a good double left hook by Froch at end of round. Tough round to score, Kessler busier, Froch more accurate. Advantage: Froch
Round 10: Round starts out with a good left hook by Kessler and a combination, but Froch comes out and stays busier with jabs, a sneaky left hand. Kessler is bleeding from a severe cut above his left eye. Will he revert to his fight with Ward and basically quit? Froch is cleaner punching and more accurate and is actually starting to throw combinations. Advantage: Froch
Kessler's trainer Montoya is like a twisted Tony Robbins, constantly telling Kessler he can do it.
Round 11: Kessler responds to Montoya and the first minute belongs to him. He throws combinations and stalks Froch. The next minute was a brawl! Both men threw massive blows. Froch lands left hook and wobbles Kessler and then lands a right. Kessler lands a left hook and right-left combo and a then big right, backing up Froch. Froch lands an uppercut but this is Kessler's round Advantage: Kessler
Montoya tells Kessler to go get the title.
Round 12: Kessler fires a double jab followed by a right hand. Froch is potshotting trying to land one big blow while Kessler keeps moving in. They both miss, Froch lands left hook, this is a war I cant keep up. Kessler lands to body, Froch lands right. Kessler can barely stand up but still he presses forward.
With 30 seconds left Froch heats up and starts landing right hands but Kessler ties him up twice. Kessler and Froch fight like men possessed till the bell. Froch was more accurate but Kessler looked like he wanted it more. Remember, they are in Denmark. Advantage: Kessler
The Judges' Scoring: 117-111, 115-113, 116-112 all for the new WBC super middleweight champion of the world Mikkel Kessler. Personally, I had it seven rounds to five or 115-113 Kessler.
Wow, I personally, thought Kessler won the fight, but 117-111 is ridiculous. Froch was definitely in this fight until the end and deserved better than that score. I was shocked to see Kessler fight coming forward instead of Froch and I though he would pack it in after the cut but Montoya apparently made a difference in the Danish fighter's determination.
With regard to Carl Froch, he performed admirably and has nothing to be ashamed of. he lost a close decision to a fighter in their home country. He has nothing to complain about, Kessler took the fight to him and he tried to win with one big shot. If he doesn't take two rounds off in the middle, he probably wins the fight on my card, but not in Denmark and that would have been a shame.
These Super Six fights should all be fought in neutral sites. You can not tell me there was not a site in the United States that wouldn't have hosted this title fight and drawn 10,000 fans.