(Mikkel Kessler, left; Carl Froch, right; mean-looking stone lion, center)
With Saturday night's entry in Showtime's excellent Super Six tournament, which brings together the cream of the crop of the loaded super middleweight division, we are getting what might turn out to be the most action-packed bout of the event. Whereas the other bouts have thus far manufactured drama in controversy, strategic intrigue and/or upsets of the tournament favorites, Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler figures as a brawl between men who usually prefer to come straight forward. But it has its own drama, aside from that. Kessler, who owns zero points in the tournament, badly needs a win. He is a better technician than Froch and possesses edges in most physical categories, but he's shown some emotional fragility, and Froch is used to out-gutting better specimens and sweet scientists who don't possess his steely resolve. If it all works out as expected, I think we'll have a candidate for Fight of the Year.
It's one of two such potentially action-packed fights this weekend, and we'll get to the HBO card later. I started my weekly previews with this fight because I think the Super Six tournament is suffering from a kind of criminal disregard by boxing writers, a view Froch promoter Mick Hennessy also recently espoused. Lucian Bute beats yet another one-dimensional brawler this past weekend on HBO and suddenly everyone's ready to dismiss the whole tournament yet again, when we all knew from day one that Bute's absence from the tournament was a flaw. Ultimately, the Super Six is where it's at in this stellar division, with six fighters ranked in the top 10 all fighting each other, all with different styles and backgrounds, in a far superior series of fights than anything Bute could ever manage in the division until the tournament is over. Listen: This tournament remains one of the most exciting things happening in boxing, and neither Bute nor a delay in the schedule nor other niggling complaints have changed that no matter the size of the bandwagon.
[TQBR Prediction Game 2.0 begins with this fight. For those of you joining now, please review the rules. For those of you who have played before, please look them over again as they have been slightly revised.]