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Thursday, April 22, 2010

European Union

A promise is a promise and so I’ve rolled out a preview of this weekend’s clash between Karl "The Cobra" Froch and Mikkel "Viking Warrior" Kessler. There should be plenty of information here to prepare you for the action coming out of Denmark.

To put it simply, Karl Froch (or spelled Carl) is an undefeated super middleweight champion. His 6’1” frame provides Froch with a lengthy, 74 ½” reach making him a rangy fighter. In this round-robin tournament dubbed the Super Six World Boxing Classic, Froch seems like a solid candidate to take the bout based on Kessler’s disappointing loss to Andre Ward at the end of last year in this tourney.

But not so fast. Many might think that Kessler would be reeling from his last lost. On the contrary here are some reasons why Kessler might actually hold the edge:

- Kessler is fighting in his home country of Denmark where he’s a perfect 39-0.
- What I take away from Kessler is that he’s the more technically sound fighter. He’s polished in comparison to Froch’s sometimes erratic style of boxing.
- I agree that Froch is the harder puncher, but Kessler didn’t win 16 of his first 22 fights by KO, totaling 32 KOs over his career because he looks pretty.
- Carl Froch (excuse my bouncing around spelling Karl-Carl, habit) has sounded extremely concerned about this fight in the past few weeks in countless interviews. Call it a fear of flying and the recent volcano in Iceland but there’s a sense of insecurity (I’ll touch on this more in a few).
- Froch has also said that he’s entering this fight with an injury. Check out the BBC interview here:

I’m not saying that Froch is a guaranteed loser in this match. Quite the contrary he is the fighter that has more momentum on his side. His last win against Andre Dirrell to open up the tournament was impressive enough to earn him praise, and seven KOs in his last 10 fights isn’t something to scoff at. But there’s just that inner feeling that smells bounce back for Kessler.

Oh, and to rehash about the fear of traveling by air, Froch said, “The flight was OK but the landing was the roughest ever and me and [trainer] Rob [McCracken] have been arguing over who was the most worried (provided by Dan Rafael over at ESPN).” The volcano that erupted in Iceland last week effected large portions of airspace throughout Europe. This cut directly into Froch’s plan of showing up in Denmark last Saturday. Call me crazy but the air travel problem, insecurity in his interviews and the injury situation just don’t seem to favor Carl’s quest for another ‘W’.

Then there’s Froch’s unconventional fighting style. When he unleashes a powerful right-hand hook, Carl likes to drop the opposite hand. This is what we call an indicator, not good in boxing. This has ended up causing Froch to take more pot shots then what he should otherwise be avoiding. There’s also his slow hand speed, suspect defense and at times, uncoordinated punching style. It sounds like a lot of negatives for an undefeated fighter but they are obvious blemishes.

But Froch does have an iron chin, dangerous power and in his last few fights, more of a desire to pull out victories. Yet, Las Vegas is favoring the hometown fighting Kessler at $1.50 (bet $150 to make $100). Froch is being listed as a $1.20 underdog. The round prop is currently at 11 1/2 rounds with the 'over' at -130 (bet $130 to make $100) and the 'under' at even odds.

You can tell that I’m leaning toward Kessler to pull out the home victory. However, that’s not without some concern. For me, there’s just too much evidence working against Froch. Only towards the end of Saturday will we know what the outcome will be. Until then let the opinions flow around the water cooler.

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