Johnny Nelson wonders if Mikkel Kessler can handle the new Carl Froch
Mikkel Kessler was the underdog and after taking a closer look at Carl Froch, Johnny Nelson knows why!
Last Updated: 25/05/13 8:59am
A few weeks ago I thought it was a little harsh making Mikkel Kessler the underdog. I am not so sure now - and that is nothing to do with the Dane.
Kessler is a hell of a fighter. He has been there, seen it, done it and above all he is hard - and he can punch.
We've got to remember that Kessler won the first fight, too, so he is coming into this one with the winning mentality, while Carl Froch has everything to prove.
Kessler will think 'all I have to do is do what I did last time' and 'I know how to beat this guy' but it might mean he needs to do less work, or change what he does in his preparation. But he is away from home and against a guy who wants that score levelled, so he has to put a bit more emphasis into what he does.
He may need to finish off when he slips out of shots this time. He may need to come back with a left hook or an uppercut, or a right over the top - and when I saw him training out in Denmark there was one shot he kept using. I remember thinking he didn't throw that last time.
The bottom line is this: do not expect Kessler to do the same as he did first time around.
That, though, is Froch's approach. And them some. He admits that he made mistakes in the first one and if I thought Kessler was a tough man, I could barely believe what I saw up in Sheffield.
When I saw Carl training, I was amazed at how genetically gifted he was. This guy is so hard, so, so, so fit that he probably can take that shot, no problem at all! I have never seen anyone train like Carl Froch.
I was a hard trainer and I have been with a lot of fighters training, but boy he is something different: 15 rounds for three different sparring partners and every round, he beat them up - and none of them were mugs.
Then when he'd finished that, he'd train for an hour, skipping, floor work, pad work and this was only two weeks ago. He was on his toes, buzzing around and then, well to keep it polite, I changed my expectations. I still think Kessler should not be the underdog, but I would back Froch all the way now.
Carl knows he has to do a lot more training - and I know he has done. He has to throw more punches, he can't just throw the single punches. He needs to throw combinations and catch Kessler when he thinks he's out of range. He needs to really step it up, especially in that last quarter of the fight.
We've seen Kessler in the flesh and his face was clean, and clear. Not a mark on him. That means he has controlled his sparring partners. He's had Nathan Cleverly, George Groves and others and there is not a mark on his face and remember they want to spar with him so there should be the odd mark there! Kessler though, assured me, that sparring went to plan.
I did think Kessler would stop Carl, because Carl's last few performances were a bit more gung-ho, more reckless and he was too easy to hit. I thought 'if he goes in against Kessler like that, he'll be beaten again'. And I saw Kessler working on a particular shot in training and Carl was open to it and that all fitted in with my thoughts.
But now I am sure of one thing; that Froch is going to level the score. I don't think there will be a third fight but this will be enough for us, I am sure.
Kessler should be expecting a better, improved Froch and a fearsome, fit guy trying to take him out. I am not sure either is going to go mad early on but sooner or later they will end up in another brawl.
That suits Kessler down the ground but this time I think the ground is where he is going. I could see Kessler winning this with a knockout but now the tables have turned. Sorry Mikkel, but it's Carl all the way, probably getting the stoppage in the last quarter of the fight.