After contemplating retirement for a year, Mikkel Kessler is back.
Last May, the former super middleweight titleholder lost a hard-fought title unification battle by decision to Carl Froch in their rematch. After taking a year off to think about what he wanted to do, Kessler, 35, has decided to fight on.
"I've thought a lot about whether I should continue my career," Kessler said Wednesday at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, his home. "I became a father and I have a life outside of boxing that I really appreciate. I've got a special responsibility. So it was not a decision I took lightly.
"But I still feel I have something to prove. I hate to lose. And I lost my last fight against Carl Froch. Many thought that I would quit, but I owe it to myself and my fans to finish on top. My last performance showed that I still belong at the top. And I know that my fans believe in me."
Kessler (46-3, 35 KOs), who beat Froch in 2010 to claim a world title during the Super Six World Boxing Classic, has won five 168-pound titles, including unifying two of them.
"I've talked with my team, the people around me, and they are ready to support me on the journey to become world champion again," Kessler said. "I still have a desire for boxing. I still love to train, and I believe that I can become a world champion again. Now that I've made the decision, it's all in. I'm ready for all the big names out there."
Kessler cited interest in a rematch with champion Andre Ward, who beat Kessler in 2009 to win a title in the Super Six, middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin and super middleweight contender George Groves, who will face Froch in a rematch on May 31. And a rubber match with Froch is also appealing to Kessler.
"A third fight against Froch, why not? I'll be ready for that too," said Kessler, who has been fighting professionally since 1998. "I'm not rusty, but it's been a while since I've boxed, so a fight in October or November would suit me best. At that point, I'd like to have a big fight. Like I said -- it's all in now. There is no turning back and I believe that I can do it. You don't become world champion five times if you don't believe in yourself."
Promoter Kalle Sauerland of Sauerland Event said he will begin working on Kessler's next fight.
"Mikkel proved in his last performance against Froch that he still belongs at the very top of the boxing world," Sauerland said. "He could have chosen to turn his back on the sport, as he has won five world championship belts and financially he has earned very well. He is, however, a true fighter and is motivated through big fights. He still believes he has a point to prove and at his age and with his very conscious lifestyle he could still go on a while. His last performance certainly proves that he still has a lot to give. There are some great fights to be made."