Sharkie's Machine - Kessler vs Froch: The Viking Warrior Win a Unanimous Decision over The Cobra
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to DoghouseBoxing (April 25, 2010) Photo © Tom Casino / SHOWTIME  
A Little Hometown Cooking in Denmark Sees The Viking Warrior Win a Unanimous Decision over The Cobra. Make no mistake about it, this was a good, competitive fight where both men had some big moments Saturday night at the MCH Messecenter in Herning Denmark . This was the Group Stage 2 of the Super Six Super Middleweight Tournament and Mikkel Kessler’s second shot at gaining his first points in this tournament. Since the fight was in Denmark , Kessler would have home-field advantage. So far all the home fighters in the Super Six have won their fights at home. The way I saw it, Carl Froch won the fight by a couple of rounds giving that he landed the cleaner punches and showed the better ring generalship against a very aggressive Kessler.

Kessler fought as well as I’d ever seen him fight but he definitely sustained the most damages, which showed clearly in the aftermath. Froch gave a good account of himself, boxing in his unorthodox style, with his left arm down low, always looking to counter like a Cobra might, if Cobra’s came from England .

For Mikkel Kessler this would be the most defining fight of his career. A win would propel him back into top-ten status but another loss would mark his decline, considering how badly he was beaten by young American prospect Andre Ward in the first leg of the Super Six Tournament.

Carl Froch recently said that being “undefeated” is everything to him. He couldn’t be more wrong and when he wakes up tomorrow, he’ll see how quickly he adjusts to the new reality. He’s not a flashy boxer or some super fast puncher but Froch has something special in his will to win and cagey power that usually sees him win by KO. The best thing about this fight was how well matched they were against each other. Kessler had quantity of punches, while Froch had most of the quality punches. Where Kessler had better speed, Froch had better timing and hats off to both men for putting on an entertaining fight.

The Fight

Round 1

They boxed at center ring, feeling each other out. Kessler to body. Froch jabs. Froch moves backward, Kessler right, left. Froch boxes from the outside, jabbing and looking for counter opportunities. Froch keeps his left arm low. Kessler to body. Froch combo. F hits behind the head and gets warned. Kessler combos. Froch more effective. 10-9 Froch

Round 2

Kessler pressed the action with punches. K-Right. K winning exchanges. F goes backwards into corner. K works. K right. F works out of corner. F lands a pair of rights, then another. K more aggressive. Froch nose reddening. Froch’s unorthodox style awkward for Kessler to navigate. Froch to the body. K combos up and down. Close round. 10-9 Kessler by a hair.

Round 3

K jabs. F jabs. K presses. F looks for counters. K winning exchanges. K straight right to body. K jabs. F going backwards. Clinch. K busier. K left. Froch jabs. 1, 2. F sloppy. F busier at end. K lands right at bell. These have all been close rounds that could go either way. Close. 10-9 Kessler

Round 4

K presses. Froch not much. Neither does too much. Midway Froch lands nice right. K presses and lands jabs and rights. Froch lands RIGHT, left, showboats a little. F uppercut. The brawl. Very close. 10-9 Froch.

Round 5

They brawl, Froch lands big left hook. K right. K 1, 2 to body. F works outside. K jabs and stalks. K body. Froch right sends Kessler to canvas. Called a slip and it was upon review. K left to F face! Both are pretty even skilled. F jabs, K jabs. Froch big RIGHT! Froch upper cut. K right. 10-9 Froch.

Round 6

K aggressive. Lands right. Froch was relaxed and used his jab. K aggressive but sloppy on the inside. F winning the round with cleaner punches and better mobility. K left hook. F 1, 2 upstairs. K backs F into ropes and works till F ties up. F, right, left. Clinch. The momentum shifted in favor of Froch, who counters with right left as Kessler jabs. 10-9 Froch.

Round 7

Kessler is the aggressor. K missing often. F jabs strategically. K busy but not so effective, or consistent. Froch counters well with shots to the face. K misses again. Kessler’s face bleeding. Froch jabbed and Kessler rallied, landing a right on back of Froch’s head. Kessler rallied at bell. 10-9 Froch

Round 8

Froch combo. K aggressively presses. K big RIGHT. Froch takes it fine. F right. K keeps pressure on. Froch and is relaxed…maybe too relaxed. K winning on momentum and activity. K staggers Froch with short right on the inside. F stays up and fights back. K goes for kill. Froch clinches. K right to the nose. F nose bleeds. K takes over. Froch looked to be moving in slow-motion. 10 -9 Kessler!

Round 9

K had the momentum. Froch fights an awkward style that Kessler worked to penetrate. K pressed on and jabs up and down. Froch misses. Froch’s nose not looking good. K in charge. K to body. F right. K right. K left uppercut. Froch landed a double left hook. 10-9 Kessler.

Froch complained about breathing as his corner attended the cut on the bridge of his nose.

Round 10

Kessler landed a left hook and then a body shot. F right. K right. K jabs. Froch not doing much but landed some good shots to the face. K face full of blood. K left eye cut. F left hook. Froch coming back strong. F left! F jabs to lure K in. Froch left to the face. Froch winning the exchanges. They brawl and Froch missed a big uppercut. 10-9 Froch.

Round 11

Kessler comes in aggressively but gets popped a few times as Froch counters well. K looking wobbly. Froch elusive. Suddenly it’s a brawl! K right, left hook. K hits behind the head. The ref says nothing. F uppercut followed by a combination. K keeps coming, landing in spots. Froch, right left combo. K slaps with his punches.

10-9 Froch.

Round 12

The brawl sloppily. F misses uppercut. K misses. K jabs and combos. The slug it out. Both land. Froch throws a low blow and is warned by the Ref. K comes in with punches. Froch answers both with shots that miss. Sloppy, wild action. F left hook. Both land as they trade, K pressed Froch into the ropes where they trade shots and both land. Kessler backs Froch to ropes. Froch left eye bloody. They clinched, and then they brawled. K lands a right. Kessler’s eye cut real badly too. 10-9 Kessler.

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What a bloody fight. A great match up between two guys of similar skill levels and ability. Both showed lots of heart and will. Arguments can be made for either man winning but I saw Froch landing the cleaner shots and having a better defense. Kessler was usually busier but not always effective. Froch had the stranger style, which happened to be the more effective one in my view.

The official scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111 all for Kessler.

Scoring a boxing match is very subjective. We all see what we see and not necessarily what other’s saw at the same time and place. Judge Tillman (117-111 for Kessler) must have been scoring for Kessler’s aggression alone, even if it lacked effectiveness. There’s no other way to account for such a lopsided score. Or is there?

I thought Kessler gave a fine performance, the best I’ve seen since he lost to Joe Calzaghe a while back. Against Froch, Kessler was notably aggressive, landed lots of arm punches, controlled the tempo in spots and even rattled Froch in the eighth round but Froch had the stones to stay on his feet and made Kessler pay with clean counter punching. I had it 116-112 for Carl Froch.

While this was a good showing for Kessler, he’s still not a big puncher and has to rely on athleticism and the fine art of self defense in order to win fights. Considering the competition, he still has a chance to do well in this tournament but I can’t see him beating Andre Ward in a rematch. One of the intriguing things for me about this Super Six Tournament is that originally, I didn’t think Ward even qualified to be included—but now, I consider him the favorite to win it all. He’s big, young, strong, fast and a crafty boxer with good mobility, confidence and stamina. I’ve not seen how he responds in adverse situations, as he was never in trouble vs. Kessler or against any of the “opponents” he was spoon-fed until being placed into the Super Six tournament.

Many thought Arthur Abraham was the favorite to win it all with his bazooka punches and his rock solid chin. But his loss via Disqualification to Andre Dirrell showed some weaknesses in his boxing technique and vulnerabilities in his overall game that will be checked and exploited by future opponents. It was strange… the way Dirrell was knocked unconscious on a delayed reaction from a not-so-powerful arm punch. That was suspicious. Of course the blame goes fully to Abraham, who deserved to be DQ’d for ‘hitting a man while he’s down.’ Any professional fighter knows you can’t get away with that. Abraham swore Dirrell was “acting” when it was all said and done. Dirrell’s stock went up and down that night. Up, because he showed some quality boxing skills and some much needed heart. And his stock went down because even in his best outing he manages to flounder onto the canvas far too often for a professional boxer.

New comer Allan Green is yet to fight in this tournament and aside from his projected self confidence, Green lacks real experience against top level competition. The two biggest names on his resume are Edison Miranda (who beat Green back in 2007) and the under-achieving prospect, Travis Simms, who Green beat last October by UD 10. The fact is, Green is, well, he’s still green. Green faces Andre Ward in June. That will answer the question as to whether Green is ready for prime time—or not.

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