Photos by Sumio Yamada
MIKKEL KESSLER vs ALLAN GREEN
Former 168-pound champion Mikkel Kessler steps up to the light-heavy division today and says he is hitting harder than he has ever done without any loss of speed. Kessler’s opponent, Allan Green, says, however, that he has seen deterioration in the Danish fighter. We will see which of them is right when they meet in Copenhagen for the vacant WBC Silver light-heavyweight title.
Green, 32, always talks a great fight. I remember him saying that the other fighters weren’t on his level when he boxed in the Super Six tournament. However, Andre Ward outclassed Green over the full 12-round distance and Glen Johnson wore Green down and knocked him out in the eighth round.
Now Green is saying that he will be much stronger and more powerful at light-heavy without having to drain down to the super middle division limit and “Mikkel won’t be worth a nickel”. (Kessler’s veteran Los Angeles trainer, Jimmy Montoya, jokingly told the Danish media: “Green is a good fighter but a better talker.”)
It’s worth remembering that Green turned professional as a light-heavyweight and he has never lost a fight as a 175-pounder. However, Green weighed 173 pounds for his last fight, a unanimous decision win over Sebastian Demers in Quebec, and it seemed to me that he was rocked at least three times in that 10-rounder, and Demers is not considered a very hard hitter.
Surprisingly, both Kessler and Green came in well inside the light-heavy division limit on Friday, Kessler weighing 169.1 pounds, Green 171.7 pounds. Kessler seemed to be brimming with confidence at the weigh-in, with Green looking a bit pensive, although weigh-in images can be deceiving.
Green can punch, especially with the left hook, but we have to go back three years for Green’s last truly impressive win, when he blew away Carlos De Leon Jr. in the second round.
Kessler, 33, looked sharp last June when he stopped Mehdi Bouadla in the sixth round. Bouadla had never previously been stopped in 26 fights, but Kessler dropped him four times and was particularly impressive with hooks to the body.
I think that a long rest after the gruelling win over Carl Froch two years ago will have done Kessler good. I see him as a sturdier, faster fighter than Green, and he is on home ground in Copenhagen. Both men can be hittable, but I believe that Kessler has much the better chin and I see him moving in behind the jab, pushing Green back and letting his shots go when he’s in range, with his workrate and pressure taking a toll on the boxer from Tulsa, OK. Green might be dangerous early but I think he will be struggling to keep Kessler off him as the fight goes deep.
Kessler, roared on by a huge Danish crowd, will be looking to close the show if Green starts to wilt. I'm expecting Kessler to force a stoppage some time in the last three or four rounds.
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