Inside a fantastically noisy MCH Messecenter Herning, Herning, Denmark we saw the 2nd of the 2nd stage Super 6 contests, the unbeaten WBC Champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch was travelling from his home of Nottingham, England to travel to the lion’s den in Denmark. Although Kessler now lives in Monaco he’s seen as a Danish sports icon and his fans showed in force. It was expected to be a war, did it live up to the hype?
The first round was a close one, with neither fighter landing anything major, although the round could have gone either way, the problem is that if your going over to Denmark you need to win the rounds clearly. Primetime commentator Duke McKenzie scored it 10-10 for this very reason. In the second Kessler seemed to be finding his way into the fight and seemed to take this round on ring generalship and effective aggression. Froch though seemed to have settled into this bout much better than he had when he went to America to fight Jermain Taylor. During the early going in the 3rd Kessler seemed to be tagging the champion with his fast and effective left jab, and occasionally adding a right hand behind it, and forcing Froch into the corners. Kessler had seemed to find his rhythm whilst Froch seemed wilder and although he was slowly coming into it Carl had still been unable to establish himself, except for a short burst at the end of the round.
The 4th saw Froch starting quicker than he had done earlier on in the fight though he seemed to slip back into his lazier style. Froch was however landing much cleaner shots than he had done earlier on including a beautiful right hook that seemed to be shaken off by Kessler, but it had started to heat up at last. A good exchange late in the round tested both fighter’s chins and it seemed that at last the fight was ready to become a war, and both men were tagged hard but seemed unfased in the best round of the bout so far. Froch upped his work rate and came out with power shots in the fifth forcing Kessler to clinch for the first notable time in the fight, though Froch’s gambling seemed to stop soon after this. Although soon afterwards Kessler went down from what seemed a good shot, but it was ruled a slip. Froch seemed to finally have that fire inside lit even if it wasn’t ruled a knock down he had shaken the Dane several times with either hand. Though the 6th opened with Froch being tagged, his hands down defence wasn’t being dealt with well by Kessler, but you could imagine a fighter like Ward or Bute taking advantage against such a wide open target. Kessler seemed to dominate much of the round as if to suggest he was wanting to get rid of the memory of the previous round, and the fans were seriously behind him during it.
So into the second half of the bout, had Kessler blown his load in the 6th round or was he just warming up? Well the crowd were willing on their man with rapturous chants of “KeZ-Ler” with the Danes seriously behind their man. Froch though seemed to have really slowed from his monumental 5th, he was landing single shots and avoiding plenty of Kessler’s blows but landing little of note himself. He just wasn’t being busy enough to take the round. The notable point in the 7th was a larger shot to the back of Froch’s head that went with out a telling off by the referee (Mike? Griffin of Canada). Now Froch had to, as John Rawling of Primetime said, “Had to pull it out of the fire” and with Kessler landing a beautiful straight it didn’t seem like Froch was going to pull it out unless he changed something, much like he’d had to when he fought Jermain Taylor and scored a very late stoppage. Kessler again tagged Froch hard late in the round and then tried to wail away in the corner until Froch clinched, the champion was looking like a rugged and wild challenger, whilst the Dane was looking calm and calculated. Froch would have to respond in the 9th and was looking like he would need a stoppage, though he wasn’t looking likely to get it unless he really opened up like he had in the 5th, though it was Kessler who seemed to open up and look for the kill. Kessler was repeatedly going to the body and Froch’s stamina seemed to be the target of Kesslers attacks. Though Froch seemed to comeback late and managed to cut Kessler, who had been cut in his previous fight (technical decision loss to Andre Ward).
The final 3 rounds, and time was running out for Froch, though he could now see red and had a serious target, a target that seemed to bug Kessler at times with him dabbing at it occasionally. Although time for Froch was running out, Kessler would still have to hold on for the final few rounds and the cut seemed to be ever worsening. A fantastic ending to the round with both men happy to brawl, though the round was Froch’s with quite some ease, and his first for quite sometime. Kessler had less than six minutes to survive the cut and he seemed to be doing it, enjoying it with his tongue sticking out at one point though it was a close and exciting round, Froch was still left needing a KO and quick. Both were looking tired in the 12th and it was obvious that Froch was going to have to go for the KO though he seemed to lack the energy to go for the kill. The body shots that Kessler had been landing had taken their toll. The countdown to the end of the fight was on and unlike Taylor in Froch’s first defence, Kessler looked like he was going to make it to the end of the 12 rounds. The two brawled as the fight was coming to a close, neither man seemed able to land with their full weight though Froch was generally landing the better shots, it was too little too late.
It seemed certain a new champion was to be crowned, even Froch looked like he had thrown it away and although it ended up closer than perhaps it should have been (on my card) Kessler had built up a very solid lead and sadly for Froch he looked lazier than he should have. If this is Froch now then this merely shows how lucky he was that Joe Calzaghe never took the bait, Froch would have been given an ugly beating. So then to Jimmy Lennon Jr:
“We have a unanimous decision”…yeah that seemed obvious with scorecards of
“All to the NEW champion” Mikkel Kessler who now takes his first points in the Super 6 and also becomes a 3-time World champion at Super Middleweight. Sadly Froch came across as a sore loser in the post fight interview with football icon Peter Schmichael saying “If this was in my home town I’d have gotten that”.