Froch-Kessler await another war
IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch (30-2) faces WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler (46-2) in a unification battle at London's O2 Arena this Saturday live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Froch, 35, is desperate to get revenge against Kessler, who beat him on points in their first torrid battle in April 2010.
Froch's preparations were hampered ahead of that meeting when a volcanic ash cloud disrupted his journey to Denmark.
Kessler, 34, is determined to defeat Froch in front of his own fans to prove his previous win was no fluke.
The Dane said "Some reporters asked 'what's in this for you? You've beaten him once. Why give him a rematch?' I wanted this fight and I don't think there is a bigger one in the world right now. I shook Carl's hand and said I would fight him in his home country. I'm a man of my word and that's why I'm here. I want to show Carl that I'm better than him. I've had some losses outside of Denmark but I really feel prepared this time. Along with my trainer, Jim Montoya, we've been working on a good gameplan for Carl. I feel fast, hungry, better than ever before. I've never had the IBF title. You want to try new things in life and I want to show Carl and all his boxing fans that I'm better than him."
Froch's only other loss in a magnificent 32 fight career came against Andre Ward 17 months ago, but the Kessler defeat hurts most.
The fight was in Kessler's backyard in Herning, but this time the English warrior has home advantage and believes that will count.
Froch, who has trained for this fight in Sheffield, said "If I lost to Mikkel again I would be devastated, but I feel there is an air of invincibility about me and I cannot wait to put the record right. I just feel I'll get the stoppage. I can't see Mikkel going past eight, nine, maybe 10 rounds. I think I'll do him but I've got to start strong. I'm going to come out the blocks so everyone is in for an exciting night. Saturday is the biggest night of my boxing life and the pinnacle of my career."
The common schools of thought are that Froch is a better fighter than the first fight in 2010. There are some who feel that fight depleted more of Kessler's career reserves that it did Froch's.
Since that night there has been no accusation that Froch has aged in the ring. On the contrary, he might have looked flat-footed and bamboozled against Ward, but the 12-round masterclass against Arthur Abraham, the mauling of Lucian Bute and the obliteration of an overmatched Yusaf Mack point to a fighter who is at his absolute peak.
In comparison, Kessler has served long layoffs due to injuries. Withdrawing from the Super Six tournament in which these two first met, with an eye problem. When Kessler did finally return against Allen Green, he was drilled to the deck by the American banger. Yes he got up and emphatically sparked Green in four. But the American puncher had always been soundly beaten by the best before then. However, in Kessler's last fight, against a shopworn but still decent Brian Magee, Kessler served notice that there is plenty of fight left in him yet, dispatching the Irishman in just three rounds.
Therefore, this fight looks to be another toe to toe classic to add to the ever growing 2013 collection.
On the undercard
In another rematch on the bill, Liverpool's Tony Bellew (19-1-1) meets Malawian Isaac Chilemba (20-1-2) after their uneventful scrap ended in a draw in March.
The winner will become mandatory challenger for the WBC light heavyweight title against the winner of defending champion Chad Dawson and Adonis Stevenson in June.
Super middleweight contender George Groves (18-0) has his third fight in three months since joining Matchroom - when he meets Uruguayan puncher Noe Gonzalez Alcoba (30-2) for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title. The Hammersmith man will be looking for an impressive win against the one-paced slugger to set up a fight with the winner of Froch-Kessler.
Top former amateur stars Callum Smith, Martin J. Ward and Deion Jumah all appear on the bill.