Road To Redemption: Carl Froch vs Mikkel Kessler II Confirmed For May 2013.
Yesterdays announcement that the Super-Middleweight unification fight between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler has been signed and sealed had every boxing fan salivating at the prospect. If there first fight is anything to go by, this should be a spectacular occasion for British and World Boxing. An early candidate for fight of the year without question. They have met once before, in April 2010 in the Super-Six competition which was won by American superstar Andre Ward. It was a war in every sense of the word. Both fighters have similar styles, heavy hitters who leave themselves open at times to counter punches. The similarity in styles made for a spectacular and fascinating encounter. It lived up to it's billing. From the opening bell both fighters held nothing back. Kessler had the better of the early stages, although he did seem somewhat shocked by the power Froch possessed, which he stated after the fight. The Danish crowd was hostile and this seemed to spur Kessler on. Froch's defence was almost non-existent throughout the fight, he is notorious for keeping his hands low and relying on his reactions and this led to him being caught with Kessler's thunderous body punches which were evidently troubling Froch. The 12th round was something very special indeed, both fighters got better as the fight progressed and the end of the eleventh round was a clear indication of what was in store for the last three minutes. It was brutal, both fighters loading up and hitting the other with the best they had to offer. First it was Froch who was hurt, lethal combinations from Kessler had 'The Cobra' all at sea. Somehow, he got back into it, blood pouring from his left eye, with some devastating shots of his own that had 'The Viking Warrior' on the ropes. Brutal exchanges followed and when the bell sounded the exhaustion in both fighters was evident. Both drenched in sweat and blood, both with arms aloft and the feeling that they had done enough to win the fight. It was a close and pulsating fight that had every fan in the arena and watching around the world on the edge of their seats. The scorecards weren't as close as many thought they would be, 117-111, 115-113, 116-112, all in favour of the Danish. While many experts feel the right man won, few thought it was that convincing. Froch, in particular, was livid with the decision, citing the home bias as the reason why he was denied the victory. Froch said after the fight: "I feel terrible, I lost my title, I’m gutted. I think I would have won that fight if it had been in my home town. You have to give Mikkel Kessler all the respect he deserves, we are both gentlemen, and it was a good fight, a big fight, and it could have gone either way. I can still win this belt back within this tournament, and I intend to do so. I will be back.” He was true to his word. Carl Froch is back. Three years will have passed by the time they square off again. Froch has always stated that Kessler had given his word that there would be a re-match on Froch's home turf when the opportunity arose. Carl Froch has suffered defeat twice in his career, once to Andre Ward, who outclassed Froch from start to finish and has now established himself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. The other, of course, is Kessler. This has always gnarled at Froch, that he didn't get the decision at the time. Time hasn't healed this particular wound, even though they have become friends during the three years that have passed. Froch even gave Kessler some sound advice in how to defeat Irishman Brain Magee. Not that Kessler needed it, easily disposing of Magee in three round with an imposing performance that would have got Froch's attention. Things could be different this time. The fight has been confirmed to take place in Britain. No venue has been chosen yet, although the two being considered are the O2 arena in London and The City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest Football Club, Froch's other passion in life. Froch is a different animal in-front of his home town crowd, this was demonstrated with his shock victory of previously undefeated Lucien Bute. Froch was nothing less than exceptional that night, possessing the speed and power that would have had any fighter in the division running for cover. He knew it was his last chance against Bute and he fought like it, he was relentless and Bute was put out of his misery in five rounds to become IBF World Champion. Kessler can expect the same hostile reception and performance from Froch that Bute received that's for sure. What else can we expect from this Super-Fight? Well both men haven't really altered their styles as they have aged. Kessler's footwork has improved but is still vulnerable to counter punches and quick hands. Froch's hands are still far too low and is sometimes too eager to get into a brawl rather than concentrate on his Boxing. They both have incredible stamina and possess the same power they did three years ago. The scars of that fight took a long time to heal for both men and things look to be going the same way this time around. More of the same would be fine for every fight fan in the world. So as Froch prepares to embark on a gruelling 12 week training camp with only one thing on his mind, redemption. He has worked incredibly hard for an opportunity to get even and rid his mind of one of his two defeats. There is a mutual respect between the fighters now but tensions will no doubt be running high the closer we get to the fight. This is a hurt business and there is no room for sentiment. Froch must keep his emotions in check on the night if he is to have any chance of defeating Kessler. A tough task in itself, the home crowd will no doubt be baying for blood. Kessler has a chance to prove that the first fight was the right result. The pressure is off him to a certain extent, that doesn't mean he will be taking Froch for granted. His WBA title will also be on the line and if one part of Kessler's preparation isn't perfect then Froch will take advantage. Kessler will bring a strong following over from Denmark and they will be expecting the kind of performance Kessler gave them against Magee and against Froch three long years ago. What awaits the winner? Without question Andre Ward is the biggest ticket in town at the moment and the winner of this would be in pole position for a unification fight with Ward in the Autumn of this year. This is a very lucrative carrot without question but pride might be more of a factor for both fighters. Both have been out-performed by Ward and the prospect of getting even would outweigh the big payday that's in store. Froch has getting even on his mind this time too. One thing is for sure, if the last fight is anything to go by the Froch vs Kessler II will be one for the ages. Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_1020002