Harry Pratt

Froch admits Kessler too tough to KO cold


IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch reckons Mikkel Kessler can be stopped but not by knock down after conceding his Danish rival is too strong – physically and mentally – to lose a bout that way.

Last week Kessler insisted he plans to become the first in history to beat the Englishman inside the distance when they meet for the second time in their careers, on May 25 at the London O2 Arena. The 34-year-old veteran from Copenhagen also predicted a war.

That interview on TalkSPORT was played back to Froch (30-2, 22 knockouts) Thursday during a live chat with the same radio station. The Nottingham star’s response was both swift and emphatic as he agreed with Kessler’s take – to a degree.

“No, it’s not going to go the distance because he’s getting get knocked out – simple as that,” said Froch, a three-belt winner at 168 pounds. “But I think it will be a late stoppage, if it comes, because he’s very tough and you’ve got to give him respect. He can take a shot.

“He’s obviously going to come with his own ideas. But I feel the fight won’t go the distance because he will either quit on his stool or the referee will intervene.

“I can’t see Kessler being knocked out. He can hold a good shot and when I say quit on his stool, I mean retired by his corner because he doesn’t know how to quit. He won’t ever quit himself. But if he’s taking that many shots late on, getting tired and hurt but still refuses to fall over that could force a stoppage. But either way, I’m ready to go the distance…as I’m sure he really is.”

Despite his supreme confidence that he will avenge his points loss to Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs) in Denmark just under three years ago – which stems from his considerably more impressive record in the period since – Froch, 35, is taking nothing for granted. Nor will he entertain any bad-mouthing or slanging matches as the anticipated rematch draws closer.

“There is mutual respect between us, we both shared the ring for 12 rounds, hit each other with our best punches and stared back at each other,” said THE RING’s No. 1-rated super middleweight. “He knows what I’ve got; I know what he’s got. There is no reason for us to trash talk. We both the want same thing – to defend our world titles.

“The one important thing is I have been busy since fighting him that the first time. I have had 44 to 45 rounds of top-level boxing and he’s only had nine. That could be a significant difference when we get to fight night – when it gets past five or six rounds and really tough.

“I have been busier at the top level and had some great title fights and defenses over the last three years. He’s had 18 months off, retired and then come back with two or three easy fights, totaling nine rounds. I think I’m better prepared and better improved going into the second fight.

“But that’s all talk and you can’t rely on that and statistics when those gloves are coming at you and you’re trying not to be caught. That’s what so exciting about boxing. You never know what’s going to happen.”


Photo / Scott Heavy-Getty Images

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