Boxing

Mikkel Kessler Destroys Andrade

Kessler 25.03.07 - By Anthony Coleman, photo by SUMIO YAMADA: In a fight that had many in the boxing world talking, WBA and WBC Super Middleweight titlist Mikkel Kessler was expected to be given a tough test against heavy-handed challenger Librado Andrade. Instead the fight turned into a mismatch as Kessler used his superior technique to absolutely dismantle his foe for twelve highly one-sided rounds. In winning the fight, Kessler made believers out of his few remaining detractors and announced to the world that he is perhaps the best 168 pounder in the world today.

Round 1 began as a usual feel out round. Kessler moved around the ring from left to right as Andrade relied on pressure and began to chase. Andrade threw to the body, but his footwork was slow, his balance clumsy while Kessler was moving comfortably from left to right and his balance was excellent. Midway through the round, Kessler unleashed his dynamite left-jab/ right-cross combination. The combo landed flush and a short left hook also landed to the side of Andradeís head. It was the beginning of the story of the fight as Kesslerís straighter, sharper punches would land on Andrade with full authority. Towards the end of the round Andrade landed his best punch of the round, a left hook that momentarily stunned the Danish champion. Little did he and the audience know that this would be his best punch of the fight. Despite being slightly stunned, this was a clear Kessler round..

Round 2 began with Andrade coming out like a bull and forcing Kessler to fight at a speed he wasnít necessarily comfortable with. However, Kessler dealt with Andradeís pressure by using his best offensive weapon: his sledgehammer-like left-jab. Kessler used the jab to perfection tonight, mixing in perfect one-twoís and his left hook to confuse the challenger. By the end of the round Kessler had settled into a rhythm and was now beginning to make Andrade pay for his mistakes.

The third round is the round in which Kessler really took complete control of the bout. The champion moved around the ring, while Andrade followed, and made him pay by landing his jab and huge power shots. Midway through the round Kessler landed a huge one-two which brought his hometown crowd to its feet. Meanwhile, Andrade couldnít even touch Kessler cleanly, let alone defend himself against the champís ever escalating onslaught. Round three was another easy round for Kessler.

Rounds four through nine were mere carbon copies of round three as Kessler dominated the fight with his one-two, combination punching and footwork. His punching accuracy in these rounds was superb and he answered any questions about his stamina by consistently throwing hard shots through out the round. Andradeís couldnít defend himself and bravely moved forward into more heavy incoming. This fight truly was now a Kessler showcase.

However, by round ten, Andrade showed his tremendous fighting spirit by making the rounds interesting. While I still gave the last three rounds to Kessler, Andrade made these rounds close by using his bull like pressure and will to force Kessler to the ropes and landing some hard shots. In fact, if it werenít for a well placed Kessler combination to end the tenth round, Andrade would have probably taken that stanza. Yet tonight Andrade was defeated by the superior fighter and when the score cards were announced, the judges all scored it a twelve round Kessler shutout.

In short it was an absolutely brilliant performance by Kessler. He showed great movement and ring generalship from the outside. His offense, which includes a steel-rod of a left jab, is fantastic and his defense is good as well. Right now he very well maybe the best Super Middleweight in the world today. However, he must prove it against his top threat: Joe Calzaghe. These two men MUST square off to determine who the real Super Middleweight champion is (provided Calzaghe defeats Peter Manfredo Jr.). Itís the only fight that matters at this division. Let us hope the fight can be made.

As for Andrade, he showed two things tonight: a heart and a chin. He might very well have the best chin in boxing today after absorbing so many power shots from Kessler and not once going down. His heart canít be questioned either and this is the reason why he may still become a world champion. He only has 25 fights under his belt and has time to improve, so donít count him out.

All in all tonightís fight was expected to be a potential barnburner, but instead turned into a showcase for one of boxingís pound-for-pound best. The boxing world should take notice: Kessler has arrived and he is for real.

Article posted on 26.03.2007



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