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Kessler-Ward prediction: Andre to take Mikkel’s title

Picture credit: Team Sauerland – By Scott Gilfoid: There is now only six more days before the Super Six tournament clash between World Boxing Association super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler and challenger Andre Ward, and as the days draw nearer it feels like the end of a era is coming closer for the Danish Kessler.

Mikkel has the unfortunate luck of facing the 25-year-old Ward, the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist for the U.S., who hasn’t been beaten since way back in his amateur days. Ward has been nothing short of invincible since turning pro five years ago. Ward is looking to de-throne the 30-year-old Kessler next Saturday night and not just win the Super Six tournament fight.

Ward wants Kessler’s title and won’t be stopped until he accomplishes his goal. Kessler will be facing a hostile audience, as the fight will be held in Oakland, California, the home city of Ward. If Kessler is counting on fighting in front of a friendly American crowd, he’s going to be badly disappointed, because the Oracle Arena will likely have few fans of Kessler showing up.

kessler45343I’ll be there at ringside, but Kessler won’t be able to count on me for support. I’ll be backing the fighter that I feel who’s going to win the fight – Ward. Kessler hasn’t been beaten since he was out-boxed by Joe Calzaghe in a 12 round decision in 2007. Kessler has been winning all of his fights since that time, but his opposition has been less than impressive.

Kessler’s fight against Ward is going to be arguably the best opponent that Kessler has faced in his entire career. That’s not to take anything away from Calzaghe. He was a good fighter in his day, but by the time he fought Kessler, Calzaghe was at the end of his career and starting to show signs of slowing down. Ward, on the other hand, is only 25 and in his prime years.

Ward has a top notch chin, excellent power, great hand speed, beautiful movement and an airtight defense. In every facet of Ward’s game, I’d rate him as an A+ fighter. He has no weak point. Ward hasn’t done this on strictly god given talent, although he has plenty of that. Ward has worked his tail off in training, working on his weak points until they’ve become his strong points. Ward studies all of his opponents in detail, finding out how they ticket so that he can take them apart come fight time.

Kessler has nice basic skills. He’s good at a lot of different things and hard to beat unless his opponent is smart and very technically sound. However, Kessler appears to have lost a step, and is facing a fighter that is not only technically sound but also extremely gifted. All the skills that Kessler has, Ward is a couple of notches better. At the same time, Kessler’s lack of smooth movement in the ring will be a problem for him against the formless Ward.

Kessler won’t be able to beat Ward with his robotic fighting style, because Ward moves so much better. Calzaghe took advantage of Kessler’s robotic fighting style and over-loaded his defense with punches from every angle. Kessler was out of his league in that fight. But in the case of Ward, he’s like Calzaghe x 2. He does everything that Calzaghe does, but much better.

Prediction: Ward by lopsided 12 round unanimous decision. Ward will make Kessler look like an old man.

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