Englishmen predicts the fight won’t go the judges as both men make weight for the bout.
Carl Froch is predicting he will stop Mikkel Kessler inside 10 rounds in their world super-middleweight title unification fight on Saturday.
Both boxers will be putting world titles on the line for a rematch in front of 18,000 fans at the O2 Arena in London after Englishman Froch weighed in at 11 stones 13 pounds 9 ounces and Denmark’s Kessler tipped the scales at 11 stones 12 pounds 7 ounces at the weigh-in.
International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Froch appeared to then have a polite conversation with World Boxing Association (WBA) title-holder Kessler in front of the scales after Friday’s weigh-in, despite the Briton claiming on Wednesday he would be prepared to ‘kill’ his opponent in the ring. Froch insists the remark is not evidence of him cracking as fight night approaches.
“He knows and I know that I wasn’t myself or at my best for our first fight and I let him know that,” Froch said after the weigh-in.
“The way I’m feeling and being on the weight, I’m firing on all cylinders. I don’t crack up under pressure. I’ve had nine world title fights back to back so I’ve been here before.”
For Froch, this is all about revenge. Kessler, 34, inflicted the first of two defeats on Froch’s 32-fight fight record when he triumphed on points in April 2010. Froch, 35, believes he was distracted by his late arrival in Denmark due to a volcanic ash cloud grounding flights around Europe, but this time he says there will be no excuses.
“I’m just going to do a number on Kessler, I think everyone is going to be shocked,” Froch told AFP. “I can’t see him going past eight, nine, maybe 10 rounds, I just can’t see it so I think there’ll be a mid to late stoppage.”
Froch is preparing himself for a fast and furious start, and has compared his rematch with Kessler to that of the 1985 middleweight classic between Americans Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns.
“If we come out from round one both trying to prove a point it could be one of those where, in two or three rounds, you see that much action you think there’s no way this is going to go 12 rounds,” he said.
“Potentially, this could be another Hagler-Hearns, it could even eclipse that. It could be brutal and vicious from round one.
“The earlier I start getting him on his back foot, the earlier the fight will be over. I feel I can force a late stoppage if I take the centre of the ring, keep busy and come out firing on all cylinders.”
Kessler’s career was left in doubt after beating Froch three years ago due to an eye injury and since they met the Dane has only fought three times, amassing 13 rounds. Froch, meanwhile, has boxed 44 rounds, winning four and losing one, on points to Andre Ward in December 2011.
But Kessler, whose only defeats in 48 fights were to Ward in 2009 and on points to Welshman Joe Calzaghe in 2007, dismisses a lack of rounds as a problem.
“I’ve done a lot of things different in terms of how I eat, sleep and train for this fight,” Kessler said.
“I’ve had very good sparring and I’m at my peak now. It couldn’t be better timing for me. I’ve beaten Carl before but it’s a different game plan now.
“The number of rounds I’ve had since we fought is not a concern. Not a problem. I have done many rounds in the gym. I have only had four 12 round fights anyway so I know I have a lot of 12 rounders left.”
Kessler can claim to have more experience than Froch in world title fights, 12 to nine, as well as the win over the Briton three years ago. But local bookmakers have Froch as the 11/4 favourite.