Super middleweight champ Andre Ward knows what he is talking about when it comes Mikkel Kessler and Carl Froch.
Ward, after all, easily defeated both of them in world title fights during the Super Six World Boxing Classic. Ward cruised to an 11th-round technical decision win against Kessler to win his first world title in their opening bout of the tournament in November 2009. In the December 2011 tournament final, Ward routed Froch to unify 168-pound titles to establish himself as the super middleweight king.
Since the tournament, England’s Froch and Denmark’s Kessler have each picked up versions of the title and they will meet to unify those belts in a rematch on Saturday (HBO, 6 p.m. ET) at the sold-out O2 Arena in London. In their first fight in April 2010 -- as part of the Super Six -- Kessler won a tight decision in Denmark in the most action-packed fight of the tournament.
The winner of Kessler-Froch II could potentially get a rematch with Ward, who doesn’t exactly have a plethora of name opponents to face when he returns to the ring (probably in September) following a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery.
Ward will be ringside to call the fight as part of the HBO broadcast team (and, undoubtedly, get a close-up look again in case he wants to fight the winner) on Saturday and he thinks Froch will beat Kessler to even the score, perhaps even by knockout.
“Carl Froch has been in some tough fights but I think he has more in the tank,” Ward told England’s weekly Boxing News. “I think Kessler has kind of dipped a little bit since he and I fought, and even since he fought Froch the first time. Even though it’s going to be a tough fight, it’s going to be back and forth, I can’t see Kessler winning this.
“Kessler’s last two performances, he hasn’t fought the best guys -- a shop-worn Allan Green then Brian Magee, who’s very tough but limited -- and he’s going to look good against them. But I don’t know if he has the same fire as when he fought Froch the first time. I would be shocked if Kessler got his hand raised. I think Froch wins and I wouldn’t be surprised if Froch caught and stopped him.”