The light heavyweight division has a new contender, and fans have a strong candidate for 2012 Knockout of the Year.
Mikkel Kessler scored a chilling one-punch knockout of Allan Green 17 seconds into the fourth round in his hometown of Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday. It was Kessler’s debut at 175 pounds, which earned him the WBC’s “Silver” light heavyweight belt, after nearly a decade of contending and holding titles at super middleweight.
However, things didn’t start smoothly for the Danish favorite. Late in the first round, Green took advantage of Kessler’s dangling lead hand and landed a hard right cross, followed by a left hook to the body that sent the Dane to the canvas. Kessler finished the round on unsteady legs, while Green looked refreshed and energized as he proclaimed he would be in moving up to light heavyweight himself.
However, the hometown hero shook it off and almost on cue with the introduction of his left hand into the fight, Green’s confidence left the arena.
Kessler, 33, began snapping jabs and landing sweeping left hooks that buzzed Green in the second and third rounds, a prelude to the grizzly ending.
The left hook that knocked Green unconscious was shorter and more compact than the ones that merely wobbled him earlier. Kessler (45-2, 34 knockouts) allowed a few range-finding jabs to be parried by Green in order to move his right hand away from his face, and quickly uncorked a hook that had his opponent out cold and arms overhead before he hit the mat.
For Green (31-4, 21 KOs), it is likely a harsh ending to what was a turbulent and frustrating time in the boxing limelight. A spectacular talent in the gym and a captivating speaker, the 32-year-old native of Tulsa, Okla., garnered a lot of hope and attention, but has never been able to put it all together. In all of his big opportunities – against Edison Miranda, Andre Ward and Glen Johnson – he turned in disappointing performances.
Losing to noteworthy and solid competition is nothing to be ashamed of, but perhaps the fact that he struggled with Sebastien Demers in his most recent outing before Kessler was an indication that whatever hope was there for him was to be lost.
Kessler was scheduled to face THE RING’s No. 3-rated super middleweight, Robert Stieglitz, but a hand injury derailed those plans. With a successful leap seven pounds north a new strap and a WBC rating to play with though, some are suggesting that he could target THE RING’s No. 4-rated light heavyweight Nathan Cleverly instead.
On the early undercard, THE RING’s No. 10-rated cruiserweight Mateusz Masternak (27-0, 20 KOs), of Poland, logged a dreary 10-round decision over club fighter Hari Miles. The 25-year-old Pole is a highly touted contender who has bulldozed a series of journeyman of late, scoring five consecutive stoppages, but opted to passively counterpunch for this bout.