Ward humiliates Kessler
By Scott Gilfoid: Wow! Mikkel Kessler (42-2, 32 KO’s) looked really horrible last night in losing his World Boxing Association title to American Andre Ward (21-0, 13 KO’s) in an 11th round technical decision at the Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California. I give all my doubters permission to grovel in the comment section and thank me for my wisdom. I forgive you all for doubting me. The final judges’ scores were 97-93, 98-92 and 98-92, all for Ward. I hate to gloat about a victory, but I told you people that Ward would win basically every round of the fight. Oh, Kessler won a couple of mercy rounds but that’s about it. Kessler got beat every which way and looked to be ready to quit by the 8th round.
It was around this time that Kessler started complaining that he couldn’t see out of his cut right eye. Kessler received cuts over both eyes apparently each from head butts. The cuts, in particular the one on his left eye, caused referee Jack Reiss to stop the action in the 11th and have the ringside doctor examine the cut. The doctor quickly advised for the fight to be stopped.
But cuts or no cuts, Kessler took a one-sided beating and it wasn’t because of the cuts or occasional head butts. If you believe the cuts were the reason Kessler was dominated I feel you’re negating the boxing clinic that Ward put on in this fight. Kessler, 30, was never even remotely competitive. Indeed, Kessler looked woefully limited and didn’t look like he belonged in the same ring with Ward.
It wasn’t that Kessler a shot, something I’ve seen people mentioning, it’s because Kessler was finally fighting a really good fighter. This is what happens when you have a fighter being served up easy opponents for most of their career. Eventually, when they do have to face a really good fighter like Ward, they have major problems. The warning signs were already present with Kessler’s lackluster win over Gusmyr Perdomo in his last fight in September.
Kessler fans point out that Kessler got the win, but they ignore the fact that he looked slow, robotic and was easy to hit. I didn’t miss it. I knew then that Kessler was starting to show his age, but I also knew that he was vastly overrated as a fighter. Up until that fight, Kessler had beaten a handful of decent fighters like Anthony Mundine, Dimitri Sartison, Librado Andrade, Markus Beyer and Eric Lucas.
Some of them may have been champions at one time, but I don’t consider any of them comparable to the likes of Ward, Andre Dirrell or Jermain Taylor. As such, Kessler came into the fight with Ward with pretty much only the loss to Joe Calzaghe to show for in terms of big time experience. I don’t count Sartison, Andrade, Mundine or Beyer.
They don’t rate in my eyes. It was clear from the first seconds of the fight that Kessler was out of his league as Ward pelted him with hard jabs to the head and midsection. Kessler had a big problems letting his hands go and looked clueless for the most part, like a big robot with a broken firing mechanism. Ward, a southpaw, constantly fired off hard left hands to the head that landed cleanly most of the time.
Kessler seemed helpless to stop the shots. He just looked slow and very inadequate. By the 4th round, Kessler was cut under the right eye and his nose was beginning to bleed. Ward hurt Kessler in the same round by tagging him with a hard left hand in close while Kessler was holding onto his right arm to prevent Ward from punching.
Kessler looked way behind in the fight by the 7th. I had him losing every round of the fight at this point in the bout. He desperately attempted to land a big amateurish left hand in the round and missed by a country mile as Ward skillfully ducked it. Kessler appeared confused and I don’t blame him. He was not ready for this kind of fighter. Ward fought out of a weird looking crouch in which he had his head low leaning to the left. However, Kessler had plenty of opportunities to land his punches, because Ward often lunged forward with long left hands and came dashing forward as well. Kessler seemed paralyzed and unable to pull the trigger with his punches.
In the 8th round, Kessler was cut over his left eye from a clash of heads with Ward. After the round ended, Kessler complained bitterly that he couldn’t see and sounded like he wanted the fight to be stopped. Kessler was getting totally dominated, taking shot after shot from the younger, faster, stronger Ward and there wasn’t a thing Kessler could about it. Kessler was getting in some hard shots, too, from time to time, but Ward always returned fire shut him down quick. Ward was throwing combinations, whereas Kessler was limited to one shot at time when was landing.
Ward totally dominated the 9th and 10th rounds, pounding Kessler unmercifully. It was so bad that I couldn’t imagine Kessler’s corner allowing it to continue for long, because he was a like big punching bag for Ward. There was another clash of heads in the 10th, which re-opened the cut over Kessler’s left eye. But it wasn’t an intentional head butt by any means, nor were there a ton of clinches like some people have been saying.
There was clinches, but many of them were initiated by Kessler in the later rounds of the fight. He looked tired and beaten. Kessler was fighting okay in the 11th round at the time of the stoppage. He looked like he was trying for a knockout and landed some nice shots. I don’t think for a second that Kessler would have been able to stop Ward, but it was nice that Kessler was at least trying hard at the very end.
After the fight, Kessler had this to say about the bout: “I’m not used to the referee not stopping the fight for holding, and he [Ward] was using his head all the time. He was head butting me. I thought it was unfair with the head butt, and the holding, and the home judge referee. He’s [Ward] going in all the time with his head on purpose. I couldn’t see out of my eyes. I have to look how the fight went on, see what I can do better, and see if I still got it. If I have to fight Ward again, I can’t go straight forward or stand in the middle [of the ring]. I have to go sideways.”
I hope Kessler watches the fight closely with an open mind, because he wasn’t beaten because of the head butts or any kind of holding. He got an old fashioned butt whipping by a better fighter. Like I said, I think Kessler would have lost to Ward at any time in his career, because he’s too slow , robotic and limited to beat a quick modern fighter like Ward. But Kessler didn’t help himself by fighting hand-picked opponents for most of his career. Also, Kessler appears to have lost a couple of steps through aging and inactivity. He’ll be turning 31 shortly, and while that may not seem old to some people, it can be old for some boxers. It’s a young mans’ sport for the most part. There are exceptions, but mostly it’s a brutal sport and when you start to age like Kessler, the young lions like Ward and Dirrell will eat you up.
Ward said after the fight “It was my time. I wasn’t going to be intimidated by Kessler’s record. I was surprised he didn’t make any adjustments. He kept doing the same things over and over again.”
With this win, you’d have to consider Ward to be the favorite to win the Super Six tourney. I think Dirrell is his only competition. The gives Ward two points, and trails Arthur Abraham by one point in the competition. However, if this had been Abraham in there instead of Kessler, I have no doubts that Abraham would have taken a worse beating than Kessler. There’s no way that Abraham would have been able to beat Ward averaging 10 to 15 punches thrown per round, which is what Abraham averaged in his fight with Taylor. Boxing fans are fooling themselves if they think that Abraham would be able to stop Ward. It won’t happen, mark my words. Abraham will look like a hopeless when/if the time comes for him to fight Ward. Dirrell will expose Abraham in their next fight and show what I already know about Abraham.
As for Kessler, I still think he’d beat most of the fighters in the Super Six tourney. I think he’s going to embarrass Carl Froch in their next fight. Unless Froch gets away with body slamming, rabbit punching and hitting an holding all night long, he’s going to get a boxing lesson from Kessler. I think Kessler is about the 3rd, possibly 4th best fighter in the entire super middleweight division behind only Ward, Dirrell, and Bute. There’s no reason for Kessler to be disappointed. This loss is merely showing where Kessler was to begin with. People made the mistake or rating way too highly. I saw it, Dirrell saw it, and so did Ward. It’s too bad the gullible boxing fans didn’t.
Right now, I’m pretty much 2-0 for my picks in the Super Six tournament. I picked Dirrell, who lost by a decision, but I consider that to be a win by Dirrell. Although Dirrell lost on the cards from two European judges, I had Dirrell winning eight rounds to three with one round even. The good news is that Dirrell knows now how you have to fight in this tournament and will be fighting tooth and nail from now on. If a fighter starts fouling him, Dirrell has to return fire beat them down rather than complaining about it or trying to clinch to shut them down.