Boxing is a strange sport at times – fighters that once have been highly touted can easily fall from public grace after one defeat for example.
Mikkel Kessler actually established himself on a global stage with a loss in his fight with now retired Joe Calzaghe. That fight took Calzaghe to the wire, Kessler proved that he could mix it with one of the greatest super middleweights ever and only all Calzaghe’s ring smarts and lessons learned over the years saved the Welsh great from losing his unbeaten record that night.
At 31 though, many now question the miles on Kessler’s clock – did the Calzaghe fight take something out of him? Certainly his shock loss to Andre Ward in the first stage of Super Six Boxing Classic gave cause for concern. Most fans and pundits thought that Kessler was the hot favorite for this tournament – his pedigree seemed far too superior to all the other fighters. I thought so too, Kessler on paper should have taken Ward apart and then finished him off for the cameras, instead the Kessler that turned up that night was a shell of his former self – he was flat-footed and easy to hit. It was a hard fight to watch for any Kessler fan, from the looks of that fight he was a shot fighter, a spent force.
All questions will be answered this weekend as Kessler faces off against British WBC champion Carl Froch in an eagerly anticipated fight in Kessler’s homeland of Denmark. This is a make or break fight for Kessler – has the chance not only to put himself in the mix with the Super Six Tournament but he can also leapfrog back into world champion status by beating Froch. If he needed motivation he must surely have it now. Kessler has also been making changes behind the scenes – parting with long time coach Ricard Olsen and teamed up with the veteran trainer Jimmy Montoya. Montoya has trainer 16 world champions including Hector “Macho” Camacho and the great Salavdor Sanchez. I think this could bring a much-needed tweak or two from Kessler, one thing is for sure though – we will all find out what Kessler has left on Saturday night!