In the wake of Carl Froch’s smashing knockout victory over former IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, all indicators are pointing to Froch’s next outing as a rematch with the Viking Warrior, Mikkel Kessler. Although Froch has signed a contract that guarantees Lucian Bute a return engagement, it remains doubtful and unclear if Bute will choose to exercise his rematch rights.
Furthermore, Froch has pointed out that IBF rules prohibit Bute from an immediate rematch for the IBF title after a knockout defeat. Ergo, Bute will need to fight an interim bout before he can challenge for the IBF’s red belt, or Froch would need to vacate the belt, or the IBF would need to issue an exemption of some kind. The first option leaves Froch with an open dance schedule for the rest of the year, the second simply isn’t going to happen, while the third is plausible, but unnecessary as of yet.
For his part, Mikkel Kessler is not only saying he would be happy to fight Froch again, but he would also be willing to travel to Nottingham to do it. Kessler said “He came to Denmark, so why not? I have nothing but respect for him and I think the feeling is mutual.” Froch and Kessler have spoken about a rematch, and the Cobra is hinting that it might take place in September or October.
Since then Kessler has come back as a light heavyweight, and it is unclear if the fight will take place at 168, 175 or a catch-weight. My money is on Kessler returning to 168, since Froch has a title in that weight class. In any event, Kessler weighed in at 169 1/2 to fight Allan Green only a couple of weeks ago, so the super middle limit does not seem like a stretch for him.
Kessler vs. Froch I took place as part of the Super Six tournament in April 2010, in the Great Dane’s backyard of Copenhagen. Kessler beat the then-undefeated Froch and took his WBC super middleweight crown through a mixture of superior technique, a clear edge in work rate, and a slight edge in strength. Even so, it was a Pyrrhic victory for Kessler, who took so much punishment from Froch that the fight certainly contributed to Kessler’s year-long recovery from an eye injury.