CARL Froch will go toe-to-toe with conqueror Mikkel Kessler tonight determined to overturn his 2010 defeat by the Dane and secure his legacy as one of Britain’s all-time greats.
The 35-year-old IBF super-middleweight champion meets WBA title holder Kessler in a rematch of their thrilling war in Denmark three years ago, in which the home fighter edged a unanimous decision after 12 brutal rounds.
Since then, Froch has embarked a superb run of form against elite opposition, becoming a three-time world champion by beating the likes of Arthur Abraham and Lucian Bute.
Tonight he has the chance to effectively erase the blot on his record against Kessler, the only man other than Andre Ward to have got the better of him as a professional. “It’s definitely about securing my legacy,” said Nottingham’s Froch. “We talk about legacy but he’s one of the only two fighters to win a decision against me and it was in a close fight that could have gone either way.
“If that fight had been in England then there is a big argument to be made that I would have won the fight.
“But instead it took place away from home on foreign soil and I didn’t get the nod. So it would be nice to rectify that loss and redeem myself, if you like, and set the record straight.
“It’s the biggest night of my life and my career so far because it’s going to bring my whole career to a pinnacle.”
Froch (30-2, 22KOs) added: “It’s a rematch against the man who inflicted my first career defeat and it means so much to me. To lose to Kessler again then I don’t know what I’d do. I’d be totally devastated. This is a fight I need to rectify. Kessler beat me three years ago and I need to win this to redeem myself and secure my legacy as one of the best fighters in the world.
“It is a legacy-securing fight in that sense because a win now cancels out the loss on my record and I can focus on avenging the only other defeat on my record which is the very tricky, horrible, awkward one in Andre Ward.
“To lose a close decision to the number two pound-for-pound fighter in the world [Ward] is no big hardship.
“I’ll be focusing on getting that rematch after this fight and speaking to my promoter Eddie Hearn to see what we can do about securing a fight with him.”
Kessler this week spoke of his urge to prove his original win over Froch was no fluke. The “Viking Warrior” retired due to a serious eye injury shortly after beating Froch but with time the problem healed and Kessler is just grateful to be back in the ring. “I thought I was finished but I fought my way back,” said Kessler (46-2, 35KOs). “I’m ready. Nothing else matters. I really thought it was over. I went to what seemed like 6,000 eye doctors who said ‘we’ll have to see, we may have to operate and it will be all over’.
“I was very sad for eight months until it started healing and when it did I was obviously so happy. I was finished with my boxing career so I’m grateful to be back here now. I shouldn’t be here. But I am. I’m coming away from home to defend my WBA title and win a new one as well so it’s twice as good. That’s why I’m back.”
Both men made the 12 stone weight at the first time of asking, with Froch boasting a one-pound weight advantage, scaling 11st 13lb 9oz, while Kessler was 11st 12lb 7oz. A relieved Kessler said: “I’m happy. The last time I was in England I had to throw my pants away, so I wanted to be certain to make a good weight.”