Kessler Calzaghe: Does Anyone Care About This Fight?
As I’ve perused the many various boxing websites on the net, I’ve noticed that many of them are strangely silent about the super middleweight unification bout between undefeated World Boxing Organization champion Joe Calzaghe (43-0, 32 KOs) and World Boxing Association/World Boxing Council Super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler (39-0, 29 KOs) which takes place this Saturday night. While it does appear that the fight is hugely popular in England and Denmark, many of the American boxing sites seem to have little to say about the fight aside from an article or two. Even the major cable networks, Showtime, for example, have had very commercials advertising the fight.
Sure, they’ll be showing it live, yet they’ve done a poor job of selling the fight compared to other boxing fights, such as Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr., a bout which had little suspense leading up to the fight due to the match-up of an old, washed up Dela Hoya and a prime Mayweather. Still, the bout broke records and was advertised everywhere, European or American boxing sites. Part of the problem, unfortunately, is that most American sports fans have had little exposure to Calzahge, whom has held the super middleweight championship belt of the past ten years, defending the title 20 times over the course of that period.
For his part, Kessler is virtually unknown in American or Canada, having only been seen on one occasion when he won a dreadfully one-sided bout against Mexican-American challenger Librado Andrade on March 2007. Kessler, 28, did little to distinguish himself in the bout, fighting mostly conservatively using his lab and a momentous one-two combination all night long to pound out a 12-round decision victory.
In point of fact, it was the challenger Andrade who came off the more entertaining fighter on that night, as he continuously took the fight to the conservative Kessler, who fought the entire fight on his back foot. Other than that, the publicity hasn’t been there to make up for the lack of exposure of either of them. It doesn’t help, also, that the super middleweight division is still largely marginalized in boxing, with few really quality fighters contending in the division. In a way, it’s similar to the cruiserweight division where fighters, who aren’t good enough to fight as a heavyweight, languish and eek out a career. Most of the talented fighters around the weight of 168, usually drop down to middleweight, a division which had always been one of the most popular in boxing for nearly a century.
So, it’s no surprise that many of the boxing fans could care less about this fight, and are more interested in watching Calvin Brock vs. Eddie Chambers or Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Rocky Juarez. Calzaghe, 35, hasn’t helped himself during all these years, somehow avoiding a huge match-up with middleweight/light heavyweight great Roy Jones Jr., who would likely have beaten Calzaghe and tarnished his unbeaten record.
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