This Saturday night when Carl Froch tries to exact revenge on Mikkel Kessler at the 02 Arena in London, England, I find myself split as to who exactly to predict to win this fight. Will it be the same as the first fight? Or has Carl Froch learned enough over the last three years to get the revenge he has been wanting since suffering the first loss of his career? Kessler hasn’t lost since the Ward fight, and beat Froch after it, however he has been inactive over the last three years compared to Froch who has had only one loss and some big wins since his fight against Kessler in 2010.
If this fight had happened immediately after the first fight, I would have easily picked Mikkel Kessler to win again. I truly believe that Kessler is the better fighter, and even now he is. His style is what is needed to beat someone like Froch. In the first fight he used the jab effectively to back Froch up the entire time, and threw hard body shots to follow. He chose battles on the inside and was effective in most of them although he got caught with some shots as well. His effective use of the jab and straight right hands to the body allowed him to dictate most of the fight. Kessler went on to win a hard fought decisive decision.
But this isn’t the first fight, nor is it immediately after. When Froch and Kessler stand opposite of each other ringside Saturday night, it will be three years since they had last saw each other in that ring. The changes in each fighter have been drastic since.
Since then, Froch has went on to beat great fighters like Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson, and Lucian Bute. He was beaten quite easily by Andre Ward, who is considered the second best pound for pound fighter in the world. Losing to Andre Ward isn’t a bad thing considering he has dominated everyone he has ever faced including Kessler. After his loss to Ward, Froch was able to do something that no one thought he could do, and that was defeat Lucian Bute handily by knocking him out in the fifth round. Froch has been in some battles since the Kessler fight, and he’s ready more than ever to avenge the first loss of his career.
On the other side is Mikkel Kessler. He’s only fought three times since the first fight against Carl Froch. He was forced to pull out of the Super Six tournament because of an eye injury that he suffered against Andre Ward. He actually managed to beat Froch with the eye still bothering him. The injury laid off him for most of 2010 and 2011. He did fight twice in 2012 but against foes that were nowhere close to the caliber of opponents that Carl Froch has faced. Some say he hasn’t looked the same since the Kessler fight despite knocking out three opponents since then. So the question remains, is the old Kessler going to be in the ring against Froch come Saturday night or has his lack of opposition and inactivity over the years dwindled on him?
If I believed the old Kessler was going to be in that ring Saturday night I would be picking Kessler to win easily again. But to me this is a different Kessler. There is also another huge factor in this. This fight is in Carl Froch’s house. I think Froch is going to come out with a different game plan that is going to give him just enough rounds to edge this fight. And yes, I do believe it can be controversial. Kessler will come out establishing the jab and body shots like he did the first fight. I think Froch will respect his power and use movement to try to counter those. The biggest thing though, is that those close rounds will go to Froch, and not Kessler this time. Both fighters were hurt in the first fight with big shots. I think the same thing will happen in this one. Because of Froch’s awkward style, and both men’s punching power, there will be big shots landed. The iron chins of both men will most likely lead to a decision favoring Froch in his backyard.
In the first fight there were a lot of close rounds, but Kessler was in control with his jab and body shots. He landed the cleaner punches and backed Froch up the entire time. While I had Kessler convincing winning the fight, other judges, and the Showtime analysts didn’t see it the same. They had it much closer. Froch landed big shots here and there that made the rounds seem closer than they were. At the end of the fight, both fighters were going back and forth and exchanging hard punches making it hard to judge who was getting the better of the other in the final rounds.
With all that said I’m picking Froch to win 115-113. This time the close rounds will go to Froch and not Kessler. I truly believe he needs a knockout to win. I think he’s going to be good enough to win but not as good as he was in the first fight. Even if he was, I don’t think he gets the decision in Froch’s backyard. While the fight may play out exactly the same as the first one, I believe that the outcome will be different. It’s going to be another great fight but way closer. And I do believe that a rematch will take place on neutral ground. I expect this to be a trilogy.