Joe Calzaghe – Mikkel Kessler Prediction

01.11.07 - By Matthew Hurley: The super middleweight unification match up between World Boxing Organization champion Joe Calzaghe and World Boxing Association/World Boxing Council champion Mikkel Kessler represents one of the very best and evenly contested bouts of 2007. Both fighters are not only the best in their division but among the elite pound for pound in the sport. Calzaghe represents the long reigning, savvy veteran while Kessler enters the fight as the surging young thoroughbred coming into his own. The fight is a classic tale of youth versus experience..

There are two particular areas in each boxer’s game that separate them. For Kessler it all starts with the jab, arguably the best in the business. The big Dane sets everything up off the jab and dictates from the outside. He’s also bigger and probably stronger than Calzaghe but it is the jab that is the key weapon for him.

For Calzaghe his forte is hand and foot speed. He doesn’t punch as hard as Kessler, and sometimes he tends to slap with his punches, but his work rate piles up points. He also has the ability to fight well on the inside and then get out because of his speed of foot and athleticism. Kessler has not proven in his career that he can fight well on the inside. He likes to measure his opponent with his jab on the outside to set up his straight right hand.

Calzaghe is also a southpaw which could prove to be problematic for Kessler. However, should Kessler be able to establish the jab early that would negate Calzaghe’s unorthodox stance. Look for Kessler to test Calzaghe early with straight right hands down the middle as he works the jab up and down.

The one mystery going into the fight is just how damaged Kessler’s right hand is, if it is at all. Rumors have been circulating that Kessler has been training with a severely damaged right hand and that he had to stop sparring over two weeks ago. If this alleged injury is fact it could very well hamper Kessler and dictate a fast start to the bout. Kessler may want to look for the knockout early in anticipation of his hand failing him down the stretch. If the injury is fiction it may well have been gamesmanship on the part of the Kessler camp in hopes of drawing Calzaghe into “The Viking Warrior’s” range. But Calzaghe is too experienced and too focused to fall for that, which leads me to believe that Kessler is indeed nursing a damaged hand. However his team insists that he is prepared, healthy and ready to go on November 3rd.

Look for Kessler to come out very aggressively in the first few rounds with Calzaghe moving into the counter punching mode. Calzaghe will then shift gears mid-bout and begin to attack Kessler on the inside in hopes of disrupting Kessler’s jab and rhythm. Kessler’s right hand may begin to bother him and slow his attack down but as the fight progresses the injury will become a non-issue as it numbs up. As the fight enters the later rounds Calzaghe’s speed and boxing skills will become the deciding factor as he frustrates Kessler on the inside and is able to duck and dodge away from Mikkel’s now one dimensional attack.

After twelve brisk rounds Calzaghe’s later round surge will prove to be the deciding factor, leading him to a close but unanimous decision victory.

Article posted on 01.11.2007

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