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Will Froch get revenge versus Kessler? The experts weigh-in
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Carl Froch KO Mikkel Kessler: Though Mikkel Kessler edged their first encounter in a fight that could've gone either way, I think the two have gone in separate directions since that initial meeting. Carl Froch has fought the consistently tougher competitors, and outside of a loss to Andre Ward in the Super Six finals, has found a way to prevail each time.
Record: 2-0 [Matthysse KO 6 Peterson]
Carl Froch UD 12 Mikkel Kessler: Too hard to call? Well, no. But as both men say it's a 50-50 fight between two warriors. My only fear is the promised super-fight tear-up apparently one hundred per cent guaranteed this Saturday might not unfold in quite the way the pundits imagine. Especially, those in the UK being asked to tune in via Sky's pay-per-view service -- for the first title fight time since the Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye non-event.
Mikkel Kessler is a cagey individual, and from what he has been saying of late, will be a very different proposition from the one who overcame Carl Froch three years ago by a narrow if unanimous points decision. That suggests, the Dane will be not be diving headfirst into an all-out war. It may well take five or six rounds for this return to spark into action, with Froch likely to be frustrated by that comparative stand-off.
Yet "The Cobra" is also a better fighter now than when suffering the first loss of his career to Kessler in Denmark. Now, with the IBF title in the bag, the Englishman seems more mature inside and outside of the ring, and that is going to be key to him gaining revenge this weekend in London. As long as he bides his time and does not try to press the issue too soon, Froch will eventually get the fight he wants.
Record: 4-2 [Matthysse SD 12 Peterson]
Carl Froch UD 12 Mikkel Kessler: This is yet another in a series of evenly matched, difficult fights to pick. However, Carl Froch has looked like a possessed man on a mission in his last few fights, and I doubt Mikkel Kessler has enough to stop that train.
Record: 6-5 [Peterson W 12 Matthysse]
Carl Froch W 12 Mikkel Kessler: I have to like Carl Froch in this rematch, although it should be another fine fight. I think Mikkel Kessler has slowed down just a bit more than Froch, despite being a little younger.
Record: 7-3 [Matthysse W 12 Peterson]
Carl Froch W 12 Mikkel Kessler: I see this going a lot like their first fight with home field a factor in close rounds for Carl Froch over Mikkel Kessler.
Record: 6-5 [Matthysse KO Peterson]
Carl Froch W 12 Mikkel Kessler: This will always be a good, competitive matchup. But I think Carl Froch has progressed beyond Mikkel Kessler since their first fight.
Record: 6-5 [Peterson UD 12 Matthysse]
Joseph Santoliquito/THE RING Magazine/RingTV.com/CBS Sports
Record: 8-3 [Matthysse KO 10 Peterson]
Carl Froch W 12 Mikkel Kessler: I will go with Carl Froch on this one. It just seems like it is his time much more than it is Mikkel Kessler's time.
Record: 6-3 [Peterson W 12 Matthysse]
Carl Froch W 12 Mikkel Kessler: I see Carl Froch evening the score via decision. The fight being in Froch's backyard is an advantage, but more so, I think the fact is that Froch, at 35, seems to be hitting his stride.
Record: 3-2 [Last pick: Mayweather UD 12 Guerrero]
Steve Stubbs, guest, Germantown, Md.
Carl Froch KO 5 Mikkel Kessler: I think it's going to be Carl Froch. I just think that Froch is hungrier, and that Mikkel Kessler's probably taken a little too much time off. I think that it's going to result in a knockout, and I'm going to say it's gonna happen in the fifth.
Carl Froch TKO 10 Mikkel Kessler: Two aging fighters in a revenge rematch -- at least for Carl Froch, and this time, in Froch's home country. Froch is a better fighter than he looked when he got his ash kicked -- volcanic ash, that is -- which disrupted his trip to Denmark to fight Mikkel Kessler three years ago -- and better than he looked against Andre Ward a year and a half ago.
Record: 5-5 [Peterson SD 12 Matthysse]
By the landslide margin of 20-1, all but one participating insider believes that Carl Froch will successfully defend his IBF super middleweight belt and avenge his loss by vanquishing Mikkel Kessler.
[Note: Martinez-Burgos was a draw, meaning all who selected otherwise received a loss]
Photo by Scott Heavey, Gettyimages
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com