Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Froch should have the edge: Calzaghe

Carl Froch of Britain, left, and Mikkel Kessler of Denmark pose for media during a press conference at O2 Arena in London, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Carl Froch fights Mikkel Kessler in a super middleweight world title unification boxing match at O2 Arena on Saturday. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Carl Froch of Britain, left, and Mikkel Kessler of Denmark pose for media during a press conference at O2 Arena in London, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Carl Froch fights Mikkel Kessler in a super middleweight world title unification boxing match at O2 Arena on Saturday. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Former world super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe believes Carl Froch will prove too strong for Mikkel Kessler tomorrow night.

Froch and Kessler go head-to-head at the O2 Arena in a mouthwatering rematch which promoter Eddie Hearn has gone as far as to label "the biggest fight of this decade".

Kessler handed Froch his first-ever professional defeat in a bruising bout in Denmark in 2010 which was eventually settled on points.

The Nottingham-born boxer is out for revenge this weekend in a contest which sees his IBF world super-middleweight belt and Kessler's WBA 'regular' title on the line.

Calzaghe, who dominated the division before hanging up his gloves in 2009, is one of only two opponents to have ever defeated Kessler in the Dane's 48-fight career.

And he is backing Froch, (35), to become the third, insisting Kessler is not at the same level he was when the Welshman triumphed in front of a packed Millennium Stadium in 2007.

"I think Froch is going to win the fight," Calzaghe said at Birmingham City's charity event 'Footy4Harry'.

"He's been active, Kessler's been very inactive, he's only had three fights in three years since their last fight which was a war.

"Kessler edged that fight but since then Mikkel has been very inactive, which I think is going to tell.

"He's got a lot of problems with injuries and Froch, although he's just the older guy, he's been on the up with some great wins against (Lucian) Bute and so on.

"He's confident and of course he wants revenge. The big thing is, when somebody is fighting the rematch, the guy who wants revenge has always got that little bit extra to try and prove themselves.

"And the biggest thing is he's boxing in London, so he's fighting at home with the crowd behind him.

"It's going to be a good fight. I like Mikkel.

"Obviously I boxed him in 2007 and he was a better fighter when I beat him, to be fair, than I think he is now but he's a warrior. They're both warriors.

"I hope the fans get a similar fight to the first fight. I'm looking forward to it."

Reigning WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has, along with England's George Groves, been sparring with Kessler in his preparations ahead of the bout.

He has seen at first hand the mental and physical condition of the Copenhagen-based boxer, (33), who has indicated he could retire should he lose to Froch on Saturday, and feels the eagerly-anticipated showdown is too tight to call.

Cleverly said: "It's going to be a good fight, they're both evenly matched.

"They had a war in the first fight and it's going to be a pretty similar second fight.

"It's 50/50, really. It's too hard to call this one but I think that's what makes it so interesting.

"Kessler's looking sharp, looking good, some nice movement and he's up for it.

"He knows he's got to win this otherwise he could be looking at retirement, he's going to give it everything, for sure," Cleverly added.

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