Betfair Warrior's Call: Kessler beware, The Cobra is wound up and ready to strike

23May 2013



Carl Froch may be a nice guy but he's delivered brutal displays to win his last two fights inside the distance. Ralph Ellis has been looking at reasons to believe the  same can happen against Mikkel Kessler on Saturday night...


There are times when you think Carl Froch doesn't quite belong in the vicious and sometimes dirty world of professional boxing.


Basically, he's such a nice bloke. I first talked to him back in 2009 for a Betfair Big Interview and was intrigued at how somebody who could be so ferocious in the  ring could be so laid back outside of it. Now I'm not pretending he's my best friend, or anything, but we've spoken a few times since then for different newspaper  pieces and he's always the same approachable guy who is happy to give a bit of time to promote his sport.


What has really come over to me every time we've spoken is his hunger to get better. Yes, because it pays the bills. Back in 2009 he was getting his hands dirty  helping run his business that refurbished property. But mostly because he's just one of those people who is driven to be the best he can be. Even back then what he was  really bothered about was winning titles, and he was excited that he had become guaranteed a fight with Mikkel Kessler thanks to the Super Six series.


He ultimately lost that on an iffy points verdict in Denmark, of course. But now comes the chance to avenge what was the first defeat of his professional career when  the two of them meet again on Saturday night in a sold out O2 Arena in London.


On the face of it, it should be another tight contest which goes the distance. That's certainly what Betfair's markets are expecting with the total rounds as low as  1.18 for the fight to finish in the seventh or above.


I think that ignores a fundamental change in Froch's fighting style in the three years since they last met, however. And a lot of what is different is down to the  Nottingham fighter's intelligence to realise that strategy matters as much as aggression. He has worked hard with his trainer Rob McCracken, the man whose technical  know-how helped coach five of Great Britain's Olympic team to gold medals, to refine his technique.


As he explained to the Daily Mail's boxing doyen Jeff Powell this week: "My footwork is better. We've sorted out the distance between my feet and I'm more balanced  which means better movement so I don't take as many shots as I used to." The second change is that he's lost his reputation as a slow starter - as he proved by  blitzing the previously unbeaten Lucian Bute from the first bell. Just to prove that was no fluke he then brutally knocked down Yusaf Mack twice in three rounds in his  last fight in December.


Couple those differences with home advantage and it's not hard to see why Froch is massive odds-on at 1.54 to emerge victorious on Saturday night and win Kessler's IBF super-middleweight belt to put alongside his own WBA title. Think about them for a bit longer and it's quite likely that he dan finish off the Dane inside 12 rounds. He's always finished strongly, so ally that ability to a fast start and getting odds of 3.7 for Froch to win inside the distance looks the best value.



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Keywords: Betfair Warrior, Kessler, The Cobra, strike

Source: Betfair

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