By Mark Vester
It appears Mikkel Kessler is not taking the path of moving up to the light heavyweight division to compete for the soon to be vacant WBA light heavyweight title. Instead, Kessler will stay at 168-pounds to pursue a rematch with Anthony Mundine, the WBA's champion at 168.
Kessler appeared to be heading for a clash with Edison Miranda on May 24, with Showtime televising the fight in America. Last week, Kessler's team withdrew him from the fight and said that a title opportunity had come up. This past Tuesday, the WBA announced that Kessler was the mandatory to Mundine.
Several issues stick out in my mind with respect to the fight.
1. Kessler is not even fighting for the real WBA title. Joe Calzaghe is the real WBA super middleweight champion. Mundine is the "regular" champion. Once a fighter holding a WBA belt moves on to unify the title with another major sanctioning title, the WBA recognizes that fighter as their "super" champion and makes the "regular" title vacant. Mundine beat Sam Soliman for the vacant title last March.
2. Mundine is unknown to American fans. There is no buzz among insiders or huge demand for a Mundine-Kessler rematch. It's safe to say that HBO will not pick this fight up and Showtime, after what they went through with the Kessler-Miranda fight falling apart, will also pass.
3. According to Australian media sources, Mundine is set to face Soliman in a trilogy bout on May 28 at the Vodafone Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Kessler's date with Miranda was on May 24. He could have still made the fight with Miranda without conflict, made $600,000 and received some much needed exposure on American television. Also, with Mundine facing Soliman in May, does that mean Kessler will sit out until August or September?
4. Will Kessler, now a WBA mandatory, receive more than $600K (400ER) for a reamtch with Mundine? Mundine has a healthy ego and his team could easily let the fight head to a purse bid where the champ would get the much larger portion of the money. Most experts had Kessler as solid favorite to beat Miranda. But, Kessler has never faced such a strong, agressive fighter like Miranda. Maybe the Kessler camp knows something we don't?
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