Kessler-Ward: I feel sorry for Mikkel
By Scott Gilfoid: There’s little over a week to go before the bout between the talented unbeaten American Andre Ward (20-0, 13 KO’s) and the aging World Boxing Association super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler in their Super Six tournament bout at the Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California. And now that I’ve seen more of the fighters going about their training paces, it looks as if this is going to be more of a one-sided bout that I originally though. Kessler just looks old, drained and small.
I know Kessler’s 30, but the guy looks like he’s the oldest 30-year-old I’ve seen. I don’t know what Kessler was doing in the past year when he was away from boxing, but it seems like it aged him seven years. In contrast, Ward looks young, almost like a youthful 21-year-old in comparison. If I was working at a liquor store and Ward came in to buy some alcohol, I’d card him in a second to make sure he was 21.
I wouldn’t even think for a second to card Kessler, because he looks distinguished like a guy pushing 40. But that’s how it goes. Some people age fast all of a sudden. A person can be aging well for a number of years and then all of a sudden they age like 20 years in one year. When you see them, it’s what happened to you. I got that when I saw Kessler after his year away from boxing.
Kessler looked almost youthful in his last fight a year ago, but when I saw him in his most recent bout against Gusmyr Perdomo in September, I thought I was looking at some other fighter. Kessler looked totally old to me compared to his last fight against Danilo Haussler last year in October. If it was just the way he looked, it wouldn’t be a big deal I suppose.
But Kessler fought like crap against Perdomo. I mean he really struggled against that dude. Ward would have made mincemeat pie out of Perdomo if it had been him in the ring. This wouldn’t have even been close for a second. Ward would have been all over him, hitting Perdomo from every angle and the fight would have ended quickly.
I also feel sorry for Kessler because he waited around a long time and finally got his big fight against Joe Calzaghe in 2007, and then got a royal beating in that fight. Calzaghe didn’t give Kessler a rematch, even though Kessler asked him for it. I don’t think the outcome would have been any different but it would have been nice to see Calzaghe over him a chance to redeem himself. After Calzaghe retired, Kessler won the vacant WBA title with a win over Dimitri Sartison.
And then after a fight against Haussler, a fight that Kessler didn’t want, he wastes a year of his career with management problems. Now he’s coming back, looking older and not as sharp as he was and facing a younger fighter with better hand speed – and in my view – much better talent. Kessler is in trouble in this fight and will be back at square one after he loses.
Like I said, I feel sorry for him. It’s too bad there are talented fighters like Ward and Andre Dirrell in the Super Six tournament because I think Kessler would have enough talent left to beat all the other fighters in the Super Six tournament without any problems.