IBF super middleweight holder Carl Froch admits he must be ‘crazy’ to crave a rematch with Danish rival Mikkel Kessler quite so badly.
But rather than wind down his already glittering career with a few easy defenses, the Englishman insists redemption, legacy and the pure thrill of a potential 12-round tear-up against the man who beat him on points in April 2010, is an irresistible mix.
Which is why Froch’s promoter Eddie Hearn has pulled out all the stops in the last two months to entice Kessler, WBA ‘world’ beltholder, into accepting the anticipated unification bout in London, seemingly pencilled in for the Docklands’ O2 Arena on May 25.
With his 35th birthday approaching this July, the clock is ticking for Froch to rectify the couple of blots on his copybook and ensure his reputation as one of the sport’s greats is beyond question.
Revenge against Kessler is the first part of that plan. Then, should he emerge triumphant, he will go searching for a second shot at RING, WBA and WBC champion Andre Ward – the only other person he has lost to.
“The more I think about it, the more I must be crazy to be this motivated and to want this rematch with Mikkel Kessler more than any other fight in my career,” Froch (30-2, 22 knockouts) told talkSPORT radio. “The first fight was one of the hardest of my life. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
“I know I’m not going to win easily because there is no such thing as an easy fight with Kessler. If we were to fight ten times, it would be 6-4, probably for me. I’m not going to beat him every time, he’s not going to beat me every time. That’s why it’s going to be such a big fight.
“It’s going to be a hell of night – and the chance to redeem myself. That’s why I’m looking forward to it so much. My legacy here is at stake. By beating Mikkel Kessler, I secure my legacy because he’s one of only two fighters to beat me. The other is Andre Ward, who fiddled his way through – spoiling and messing – and who beats everyone doing what he does. But it’s not really a fight with him. It’s more a horrible, awkward night.
“With Kessler it’s different – it’s a proper old-fashioned arse-whooping on the cobbles. It’s a proper scrap. That’s what I want.”
As much as Froch, THE RING’s No. 1 at 168 pounds, is reluctant to endure a return with Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), he still considers the forthcoming showdown with RING No. 2 Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs) a virtual eliminator to face the unbeaten American.
“The guy with the right mind-set, who wins this fight, will then be looking to redeem himself versus Andre Ward,” he said. “Myself and Mikkel both have a loss against Ward. So you have to say, doing what he does effectively, Ward is the top man in the super middleweight division.
“But no one wants to fight him. He’s off injured at the moment and he could be struggling to make it at super middleweight. He won Olympic gold at light heavyweight. So I don’t know how long he’s going to stay at super middleweight.
“The big fight everyone wants to see at the moment is Mikkel and I. But moving forward, if I’m really going to set the record straight and secure that legacy I’m on about…it’s Andre Ward.
“But let’s get the Great Dane out of the way first. That’s going to be quite tough enough.”
Photos / John Gichigi-Gettyimages