by James Slater – Prize-fighters always have and always will be fond of predicting sensational, even shocking, KO wins. Doing so to either try and sell tickets or to try and achieve a mental edge by getting under the skin of their opponent, or both, these fighters are sometimes proven to be correct; while at other times it is the KO prediction that winds up falling flat on its face, and not the fighter’s rival in the ring.
Right now, there are currently three big names who are all but promising how they will win their upcoming bouts via a knockout. These men are super-middleweight Carl Froch, who says he will KO Mikkel Kessler on April 24th and Bernard Hopkins and David Haye, who say they will stop Roy Jones Jr and John Ruiz, respectively, this coming Saturday night..
Will any of these guys make good with their prediction?
First up, we have Haye-Ruiz. Haye knows he needs to win in style if he’s to keep fans interested in him in a big way. After winning his WBA heavyweight belt with a win that came in a dull fight against Nikolai Valuev, Haye cannot afford to allow another boring match to take place on Saturday. As such he will try his best to become the second man to have flattened “The Quiet Man,” you can count on that. But will he be able to do so?
Though I see Haye winning, I think he will have to go all 12-rounds to do so. So, no, Haye will not get his KO. Despite this, the fight will be a decent enough affair, action-wise, and the fans will go home reasonably happy. Also, the fans will still either love Haye, or they will continue to love to hate him!
Later that same day, we will have the long awaited Hopkins-Jones II. Hopkins has vowed to make Jones pay for the way he has been made to wait as long as he has – 17-years – for the chance at revenge April 3rd’s fight will give him. And “The Executioner” has also claimed how he will make Jones pay the ultimate price by putting him to sleep, “around the 6th or 7th-round.” But will he do so?
In a word, no. Though Jones is coming off that now infamous 1st-round stoppage loss at the hands of Danny Green in Australia, and though Jones has clearly seen better days, he has something over Hopkins – a mental edge. Not only has Jones beaten Hopkins before, he also has, in the opinion of many, a hold of some kind over Hopkins. Much the same way Sugar Ray Leonard was able to get inside the head of Marvellous Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran, Jones has the ability to out-psyche Hopkins. This may not allow Jones to win on Saturday, but it will allow him to win some rounds, generally mess Hopkins around, and ultimately last the distance.
Hopkins will get his revenge, but it will come in the form of a fairly close points win. We can only hope that this fight is one that sends the fans home happy.
Froch-Kessler will be up next for us, in late April. Froch, though he has admitted how he admires and respects Kessler, has, for some reason, continued with his insistence that he will knock the Dane flat. In my opinion, of the three fighters being discussed in this article, “The Cobra” has the best chance of making his prediction come true; as crazy as that may sound.
The thing is, Kessler may be past it; even to the point of being a badly faded force. Some people say Kessler has never been the same since losing his unbeaten record to the now retired Joe Calzaghe, and maybe they are right. Certainly, Kessler’s confidence took a blow when he discovered he could be beaten. But how much of a bigger blow did the Dane’s confidence take when he was beaten up and defeated for a second time, by Andre Ward? Froch, as tough a fighter and as big a puncher as Kessler, finds himself in the right place at the right time to be able to do a number on him. Though he’s not as polished a boxer as Kessler, the timing of this fight, coming as it is at a time when Froch is absolutely soaring with confidence while Kessler is anything but, will prove to be a big factor in the WBC 168-pound champ’s favour. Many fights have been won largely because of one guy being in a better place mentally that his opponent, and this will be the again case on April 24th.
But, will Froch actually KO Kessler? I feel he will, late in the fight. It may not be a clean KO – probably more of a still-on-his-feet-but-taking-punishment-TKO – but Froch will get the stoppage.
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