Fit-again Mikkel Kessler should see off Brian Magee and secure premier bouts, says Glenn McCrory
Mikkel Kessler's serious eye injury may have actually extended his glittering career, says Glenn McCrory.
Last Updated: 09/12/12 7:21pm
Therefore, I fully expect the 33-year-old, who has designs on big-time rematches with Carl Froch and Andre Ward, to come through.
Kessler is a good all-round fighter; he boxes with nous, he's fit, strong and very experienced, and the only losses in his 45-fight career have been against Joe Calzaghe and Ward, two of the best boxers of their generation.
The Viking Warrior pulled out of the Super Six tournament with a nasty eye injury in 2010 and I'm sure a lot of people were wondering whether he would return to the ring the same fighter - or even return to the ring at all.
But he has looked determined to make up for lost time since his comeback and garnered a very impressive win over Allan Green in May at light-heavyweight, flattening the American in round four.
Kessler looks revitalised and his hero status in Denmark can play on the mind of his opponents, but I don't expect Magee to be overawed as he is quite adept at boxing on the road.
The Irishman beat Kessler's fellow Dane, Rudy Markussen, in Brondby in his last fight and Costa Rica's Jaime Barboza in San Jose in the bout before that, and he will feel he can gatecrash the party again this weekend.
Magee has always liked clocking up the air miles and I remember seeing him at a few of Lennox Lewis' camps back in the day and asking him: 'What are you doing out here'? and he responded with: 'Learning the business.'
He has done that and kept improving too, so he deserves a tremendous amount of credit for earning a match with someone as high-profile as Kessler, because when he was knocked out by Froch in 2006, I didn't expect him to get this far.
The southpaw will have to be on his A-game to knock off Kessler though; he will have to be busy, use a lot of movement, and not stand around in a position where he might get hurt - but I think the favourite will prevail.
The box-office fight of the weekend is undoubtedly Manny Pacquiao versus Juan Manual Marquez, with the rivals squaring off for a fourth time in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao has not impressed recently - he lost to Timothy Bradley last time out and I think he SHOULD have lost to Marquez when they met in late 2011 - but it is very hard to maintain the standard that he has been at over the years.
He looks after so many people in his entourage, has the pressure of the Filipino nation on his shoulders and his politics to contend with, not to mention his advancing age, so it's no surprise he has dipped bit.
And on Saturday night he comes up against a man he just can't seem to get rid of; Pacquiao has recorded some great, eye-catching wins, but he has always struggled with Marquez, and his victories over the tough Mexican have always been tight.
However, the duo always put on great fights, which is fantastic for the fans, and I wouldn't be surprised if the bout went the full 12 rounds, just as their other three meetings have done. Both men are more than good enough to capitalise if the opponent gets hurt, but both will expect a hard night's work.
I just hope we get a clear winner because their trio of contests thus far - Pacquiao has two wins, while they have also shared a draw - have been shrouded in controversy, with many pundits saying Marquez should have had his hands raised in victory.
I think the results should be standing at one Pacquiao win, one Marquez win and one stalemate, so for me, this is the decider - and I am going to go for Marquez.
The 39-year-old is his opponent's bogeyman, the Ken Norton to Pacquiao's Muhammad Ali, if you like, while I think the judges, aware of the belief that Marquez has been wronged in the past, may be extra lenient with the Mexican.