Can the Viking Warrior (Kessler) tame the fire of the Italian Dragon (Calzaghe)?

kessler09.08.07 - By Robert Smith: November's showdown between super middleweight kingpins Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler is the biggest in the division's history. With the fight out on Setanta Sports in Britain which nobody has subscribed to, you can expect a bumper crowd of 60,000+!

Calzaghe and Kessler aren't household names to the UK and US public like Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn were in UK and Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns were in US, but to every genuine boxing fan this is one not to miss! It will define a division. Both Calzaghe and Kessler have claim to some portion of the lineal title (Chong-Pal Parks to Fulgencio Obelmeijas, to In-Chul Baek, to Christophe Tiozzo, to Victor Cordoba, to Michael Nunn, to Steve Little, to Frank Liles, to Byron Mitchell, to Bruno Girard -- vacated the WBA now owned by Kessler, the vacant WBA won by Byron Mitchell who lost it to IBF champion Sven Ottke with Calzaghe winning and never losing the IBF), both have been at super middleweight their whole careers and both will be at their best on the night.

The winner could well slot in behind Floyd Mayweather Jnr as a top two pound for pound fighter.

I'll be blunt. Kessler cannot win this fight.

It's Calzaghe all the way.

Calzaghe is special. When you saw him throw over 100 punches in the very first round against fellow prospect Mark Delaney and send Eubank to the canvas in just 15 seconds, it wasn't rocket science that he was a bit handy.

See the super sharp punches that sliced up a then-fancied Omar Sheika, the strength of chin and battling qualities that got the better of a wired Charles Brewer in almost every round -- Brewer was stopped against Echols being in less than trouble than he was on multiple occasions against Calzaghe and dented Echols far more severely than he did Calzaghe -- and the masterclass, up until the knockdown punch, against Byron Mitchell before dragging himself up off the canvas for the first time in his life to stop the powerhouse former WBA champ in that very same round! What was it Byron said afterwards? "I've never been hit so hard so often!"

Mikkel struggled when Anthony Mundine was able to get inside, so how is he going to cope with the hurricane that is Calzaghe? Even when Markus Beyer was there for the taking, Kessler didn't finish him off the way he should have -- I bet Calzaghe was telepathically screaming at the screen "Left Hook!," "Body Shot!!" when he reviewed the tape. Calzaghe knows that Kessler is too jab orientated to cause him any major problems. And when has the jab ever troubled Calzaghe? Eubank couldn't get it working, Robin Reid couldn't get it off, an excellent upright technican in Richie Woodhall couldn't land it and neither could 6'4 Mario Veit on home and away turf.

Calzaghe's feet in the last few years have looked quicker than ever, three or four times as quick as anything Mikkel has seen, who won't be able to find middleweight or super middleweight sparring partners with near that kind of foot speed, and Calzaghe is a light heavyweight in the ring.

Mikkel is a typical European style boxer, setting up the right hand with the jab and more work on the back foot than front foot. Beyond that, there's not a lot. Beyond Mundine and Beyer, there's not a lot. It'll be interesting to see what he has up his sleeve when he's confronted by lightning flicker jabs, hooks from the waist, body shots, right and left uppercuts, U-shape weaves, dodging shots and stepping around, and 6, 7, 8 and 9-punch combinations with 60,000 screaming Welshmen.

Forget the Eubank and Lacy nights, this will BE Calzaghe's night. It'll make him a boxing legend.

Article posted on 10.08.2007

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