Super Six World Boxing Classic competitors Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler along with their promoters Mick Hennessy and Kalle Sauerland participated in an international media conference call to discuss their crucial Group Stage 2 bout in the tournament on Saturday, April 24 on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m., ET/PT, same-day delay) from MCH Arena, in Herning, Denmark.
After one round in the tournament, Froch (26-0, 20 KOs) has two points, while Kessler (42-2, 32 KOs), who has never lost a fight in his hometown of Denmark, needs a victory to get on the board.
The Super Six World Boxing Classic bout will be co-promoted by Hennessy Sports and Sauerland Event.
Conference Call Quotes – Froch vs. Kessler
“It’s good to fight a proud man like Mikkel Kessler. It’s a great opportunity for me. I’m already very established on a world-class level so I don’t have much to prove. I’ve beaten Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor and then Andre Dirrell, and we all saw what Dirrell did to Arthur Abraham. I think I’m already established as a world-class fighter so I don’t have to give myself any accolades. It’s already there. I just have to deal with Mikkel Kessler, cement my super stardom and do what I have to do on April 24, cement my lead in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, which is a fantastic tournament and I’m proud to be a part of it.
“You have six super elite fighters in this tournament and so far all the fights have been pretty close, and in some you could not even pick a winner. None of the results have totally shocked me to be honest. I can take the lead in this but Andre Ward still has another fight. I think (Allan) Green can win that fight. He’s obviously got the punching power. But I’ve obviously got the ability to be a front-runner in this tournament.
“We’re both two proud athletes at the top of our game and we know what’s on the line here, so one thing is for sure, you’re not going to get any cheap talk from either of us. And I think Mikkel will back me up on that.”
Can you get motivated to fight a guy that you generally seem to like?
“Of course. I’ve boxed friends before. I boxed a guy named Damon Hague (in 2004) for the British title and I almost decapitated him in the first round and I won the fight with a knockout. One week later I was at his house having dinner with him so that’s not going to be a problem, I can assure you.
What makes you a better boxer than Mikkel Kessler?
“Stronger, quicker, a champion, undefeated, taller, more elusive. That’s it. There’s your answer.
“I don’t feel like I need the knockout. I don’t need to look for the knockout. I’m a big puncher. If the knockout comes it comes, but I don’t feel like I need a knockout to win. I’m the WBC champion. It’s an honorable title and an honorable governing body and I don’t go into any fight expecting to have to knock someone out.
“I don’t think you can really put a finger on a puncher’s power. It’s just something you’re born with like a good chin. There obviously are some technical issues going on. I’ve got little chicken legs and a very big back so I have to land my punches accurately and correctly and with a lot of force behind them. My dad was strong and my granddad was very strong. I think it was just past down through the genes.
“I really don’t need the fan support. It’s obviously a great feeling to have people follow you all around the world to watch you fight, but at the end of the day when the bell goes you don’t hear too much anyway. You’re just so concentrated on your opponent. If the crowd is cheering against me that is fine. The Danes that I have met have been great so I’m not expecting any kind of animosity at all.
“This fight has nothing to do with Dirrell and everything to do with Kessler. The fight with Dirrell was close because Dirrell didn’t want the fight. He was running and holding and he got points deducted because of it. He was bitching and moaning and looking to the referee for help against Abraham. That my fight with him was close is totally irrelevant because we both spent the whole fight running around the ring trying to make the fight happen. It was an unfortunate set of circumstance what happened to Arthur Abraham. I don’t think Arthur knew what had happened and accidentally punched him in the face when he was on the floor not realizing he was down. That’s my opinion. Arthur Abraham is an honorable man in my opinion and not a cheat. But that’s just my opinion and everyone has their own opinion of it. But that’s got nothing to do with myself or Mikkel Kessler.”
Did you get used to having the SHOWTIME guys around during the filming of Fight Camp 360?
“It’s not I like it or dislike it. The guys who do it are perfect gentleman, they really are. And they don’t do anything without asking you first. I let them come into the house and I let them come over to the hotel. The SHOWTIME crew are all gentlemen and I have to say I quite enjoy it. I can’t say I’d do it next week, but I don’t mind doing it. They’re just so professional. You get a little bit about the other fighters watching it, but it’s not what these guys do out of the ring that’s important but what they do in the ring.
I don’t really draw too much from it, but it is compelling viewing.
“Mikkel Kessler doesn’t run around the ring. I do expect fireworks and I know Kalle reckons there will be fireworks. Mikkel Kessler is going to have to box and move and keep out of the way. If he does that I might even try to jab and move. Styles make fights and I think it’s going to be an all-out fight. It’s going to be a totally different fight than I had with Andre Dirrell.
“My undefeated record means everything to me. Some people look at knockout ratios but I fight to win. An unblemished record is very important to me.”
“It’s a big opportunity to be fighting for a world title again. You know, I had to go back to boxing school after my last fight. I’m so happy to be in this tournament with another chance to show all my boxing fans that I am the best.
“I learned from my mistakes after the Ward fight. I learned I made mistakes outside the ring. I had to pick my sparring partners better three or four weeks out of the fight. I just feel I’m better than ever now. I’m ready to fight this fight, I really can’t wait.
“In the Ward fight I was really afraid of getting disqualified, like you saw with Abraham in his last fight. I was just very afraid if I was going to head-butt him or hit him with an elbow so I was a little bit tentative in that fight, but I will never be that again.
“Of course there were a lot of mistakes in my last might. I feel like a new fighter. I hope Carl is ready because I’ve trained very hard the last three months. I’m in my best shape ever and I’m ready to fight.
“I don’t like to talk about money. But, when I’m the ring, I’d rather have a belt than no money.
“I have to change a lot of tactics, of course, but I can’t reveal that right now.
“It’s nice not to be the favorite in this tournament. Like Kalle said, I’m like a young warrior again. And I’m super hungry again. I’m very hungry. I’m back and I’m very sharp at this time. I made my mistake and I just want to get back up and show all my boxing fans from around the world that I am the best super middleweight in the world.”
“I hope Carl starts to get the accolades he deserves. We’ve got some great fighters over here in the UK but Carl is by far the best of them. And the most complete package, as well. (Carl) can box, he can fight, he’s got a great chin, he’s got a massive heart and he can knock you out with either hand. There are always questions from the world’s media, but he has answered them time and time again. And I would like to finally see him get the credit that he deserves. These two are both warriors and we know this is going to be a great night of boxing.”
“This will be the biggest fight ever in Denmark. We had 26,000 tickets and we were completely sold out of our allocation of tickets in about three hours. We think we may get about 1,000 back to be put on sale so there may actually still be a chance for people to see this fight live.
“It’s beyond anything we’ve ever seen. It’s beyond the Tyson-(Brian) Nielsen fight that was here (in 2001). I think it may go down as one of the top five moments in sports history in Denmark.
“Carl has set this up quite nicely for us. He is undefeated and we are now the underdogs and we like being that. Mikkel is like a young hungry warrior again. We’re not going to be doing too much talking but there really are going to be fireworks when these two come together.
“We are not doing a lot of talking on this call as you can see. We will do all the talking in the ring. We are just supremely confident.”