By Frank Warren
I'm backing Britain's Carl Froch to exact clinical revenge over Mikkel Kessler when the gladiators collide for the IBF and WBA super-middleweight belts at London's O2 Arena this evening.
Three years ago, when the pair locked horns in Denmark as part of Showtime's Super Six series, the Great Dane scalped Froch by a clear unanimous decision after a titanic tussle. Home advantage was critical on that occasion and will prove equally decisive tonight.
The action should certainly be lively for however long it lasts and will cement the winners place as number 2 in the Super Middleweight division behind unbeaten US star Andre Ward. Both Froch and Kessler have fallen short against the highly talented Ward. Kessler pulled out after eleven one sided rounds, the Brit was decisively outfoxed over twelve. WBA King Ward would beat both again and this makes a difficult sell for the winner to challenge him.
People mistakenly believe that I'm on a downer with Froch but I've huge respect for all he's achieved for British boxing. 'The Cobra's' a seriously tough son of a gun who always comes to fight. In the past I have simply highlighted that Joe Calzaghe was superior in both skill and commercial appeal when compared to The Cobra. Kessler has fought on these shores before. He lost to Calzaghe in front of over 54,000 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium where they both shared a pot of £10m. Calzaghe comprehensively schooled a prime and then undefeated Kessler back in 2007. I believe styles make fights and, trust me, Calzaghe would've been too quick and classy for Froch, wherever they fought.
Last week Froch was complaining that fellow Brits Nathan Cleverly and George Groves were somehow disloyal for accepting work as paid spar hands to Kessler over in Denmark. I was averse to Nathan accepting that 'busman's holiday' because, with Kessler perilously tight at 12 stone, he'd have served as a perfect name opponent for the Welshman when he inevitably rises to light-heavy.
Froch's mouth ran off at the press conference when he remarked about killing Kessler "On Saturday night if I have to I will kill this ******, sorry about the language but I will kill him. And when I am smashing his face in I am going to go for the kill." It is only just over 6 weeks ago that tragically Michael Norgrove sadly lost his life in the ring and the sport certainly does not need comments like this.
As for Kessler it's no secret that 'Clev' likes to spar hard. By all accounts, he done a job on Kessler and, despite their friction, Nathan is adamant that Froch will stop the Dane. That's good enough for me.
I don't think Kessler was ever the same fighter after his loss to Calzaghe and due to a shoulder injury, the Dane has been far less active than he or his promoters would have wanted before going into a tough fight like this. On paper it is a good fight but I see Kessler fading and I would be surprised if Kessler is standing at the end.
Unsurprisingly, Lee Purdy's proposed world title challenge to IBF welter king Devon Alexander degenerated into a farce in Atlantic City last weekend. After accepting the gig at four weeks' notice, the Colchester lad scaled a pound over at the weigh-in and failed to make 147lb for the second time in a row.
Everyone in the industry is aware that dehydration is the largest single cause of brain injuries. However, contrary to Boxing Board regulations, and with trainer Tony Sims unable to secure a US visa, his promoter Eddie Hearn tweeted that his dad Barry was in the sauna with Purdy as he was attempting to shift weight. He was unable to comply within the two hours and lost only 8oz. He then had to shell out a $15,000 forfeit and waived his right to the title, had he won. To no one's surprise, he didn't, nor would he have, even if he'd had a year's notice. Southpaw Alexander from the great fight city of St Louis is top drawer whereas Boxing Monthly magazine only rank Purdy as the seventh best welter in Britain!
Being severely weight-drained lead to an understandably passive showing, the 25 year old bailed out on his stool after seven rounds after a frantic phone call from his absent trainer to the corner. He'd taken a sustained belting from the champion who effectively fought with one hand after damaging his left mitt in the opening session.
Purdy's crew will no doubt cite that he received a career best payday for the mauling. But what use is money if you're unable to recall what bank you deposited it in?
The British Boxing Board of Control are now investigating the sauna/weight loss incident as losing weight by this method is implicitly banned due to the serious danger it puts the boxers life in.
A real Cinderella story is brewing in the Black Country.
Walsall lightweight Martin Gethin lost more than half of his 75 amateur contests and only landed at British title level last January, at the ripe old age of 29.
However, this Friday, at the local Town Hall, I've delivered 'The Quiet Man' a final eliminator for the IBF world title against Ammeth Diaz of Panama. Though his opponent hails from Roberto Duran territory he's already been stopped seven times in 42 starts.
Fitness instructor Gethin breaks hearts rather than bones but his frenetic punch output, coupled with home court, should see him prevail and set up a date with champion Miguel Vasquez, the Mexican that Ricky Burns declined to meet.
The BoxNation televised WBA cruiserweight clash between Russia's Denis Lebedev and Panama's Guillermo Jones in Moscow last weekend revealed boxing in its rawest form.
Following a truly phenomenal battle, Lebedev, who resembles a gargoyle at the best of times, sustained the most grotesque facial disfigurement I've witnessed in 33 years involvement in the sport.
The Russian, who I promote, was actually ahead on all three official cards after ten rounds but was temporarily blind in both eyes.
Shambolically, neither his corner nor the referee saw fit to curtail his misery. Consequently, the frighteningly brave champion voluntarily dropped to his knees to force a termination in round eleven.
Fans might recall Lebedev's trainer Kostya Tszyu being withdrawn after eleven rounds by Aussie trainer Johnny Lewis when his tank had emptied in his swansong against Ricky Hatton at Manchester's MEN in 2005. What a pity Tszyu failed to dispense similar compassion to his own fighter.
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