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Kessler-Sartison: The Winner Must Face Haussler Inside 120 days

Mikkel KesslerBy Nate Anderson: Tomorrow night, we’ll be seeing arguably the second best super middleweight in boxing when the Danish Mikkel Kessler (39-1, 29 KOs) faces little known Dimiri Sartison (22-0, 14 KOs) for the vacant WBA super middleweight title in Copenhagen. Kessler, known mostly for his technical boxing skills and well as his excellent power and elusiveness, originally wanted to fight WBA super middleweight champion Australian Anthony Mundine for the title.

However, Mundine gave up the title on May 28th, which left the title open for Kessler, the number #1 contender and Sartison, the #4 contender to battle it out for the vacant title. Kessler had hopes of fighting middleweight Kelly Pavlik sometime either late this year or early next year. However, it was learned today that the winner of tomorrow night’s fight between Kessler and Sartison will have only 120 days with which to defend the title against Danilo Haussler. For Kessler, should he win tomorrow night, that’s not the best of boxing news he could get because a bout with Pavlik would figure to be a much bigger and better paying bout than the virtually unknown Haussler would.

However, there’s always a way around these kinds of messy things, and hopefully Kessler would be able to work some kind of arrangement out for Haussler to briefly step aside so that Kessler could fight Pavlik, a fight which would be much more competitive, I think, than a potential bout with Haussler.

As for tomorrow night, Kessler will be fighting for the first time in seven months. The last time he fought, in November, he lost a close, somewhat controversial 12-round unanimous decision to Joe Calzaghe. Many of the rounds were very close, making it hard to judge who was getting the better of whom. However, one thing is certain, Kessler did better in the early rounds, appeared to lose the middle rounds and then came on in the final three rounds of the fight.

I personally felt that he did enough to get a narrow decision over Calzaghe, but it was hard to tell who won many of the closer rounds, and there were quite a few close rounds in the fight. Naturally, due to the closeness of the fight, Kessler was interested in fighting a rematch and avenging his defeat. However, Calzaghe refused to bite, saying that he didn’t want a rematch because he wasn’t sure he would do as well next time out, whereas Kessler would probably improve.

You can say that again. Kessler would definitely improve and I have doubts that he would beat Calzaghe conclusively, so that there would be no question in people’s mind who the better fighter was between them. However, in the absence of that, Kessler will have to be satisfied with having lost by a narrow decision to Calzaghe. Kessler is prepared, though, to take over the mantle once Calzaghe steps down from boxing after he fights for the final time later on this year, likely against Roy Jones Jr.

Sartison, 28, has an excellent jab and good right hand. He throws a variety of punches – left hooks, right hooks, uppercuts and straight rights – and is difficult to predict what he’s going to throw. He uses his jab constantly and it’s a formidable weapon for him, one that he usually likes to follow with a right hand behind it. He throws a sweeping right hand at times and it’s got a lot of power behind it generally.

Offensively, he might be a little better than Kessler, at least in terms of power and punch variety. However, he doesn’t move all that well and can be considered somewhat slow of foot. I suppose his jab enables him to get away with not having good footwork, plus he’s not have to face an opponent that moves nearly enough to cause him any problems. His defense is rather poor, especially his defense to a right hand.

In his fight with Argentinean Pable Daniel Zamora Nievas, whom he stopped in the 8th round in February, Sartison was nailed repeatedly by right hands from Nievas for most of the fight. This might have been a problem if not for the fact that Nievas couldn’t handle Sartison’s own right hand, which hurt him numerous times in the fight.

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