Kessler impresses in comeback fight

It has been a long year away from the squared circle for former WBC super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler, with the popular Danish fighter forced out of Showtime’s Super Six tournament and possibly out of boxing itself by a severe eye injury.

But Kessler proved the doubters wrong by making his return to action Saturday against top-10 European circuit fighter Mehdi Bouadla in his comeback fight at the Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium in the native Denmark of “The Viking Warrior."

Kessler proved too much for the Frenchman in an impressive display that dispelled any lingering concerns about the Dane’s health. Kessler scored a sixth-round stoppage.

From the start, the difference in quality was clear, with Kessler confidently taking the center of the ring and working well behind the jab. Bouadla was game but couldn’t get inside to inflict any damage on the one-time Super Six favorite, who was fighting at a thunderous pace and showing tremendous shot selection.

Kessler dropped Bouadla for the first time in the third, with a short right hand catching the Frenchman as he was coming inside. Although it wasn’t called a knockdown by the referee, a straight right hand similarly dropped Bouadla in the fifth round. But it was Kessler’s punishing work to the body that ended the fight quickly.

Shots to the body brought Kessler yet another knockdown at the very end of the fourth round. In the sixth round, Kessler finally robbed Bouadla of his remaining will to fight. After being sent to the canvas with a crunching right hand to the ribs, Bouadla’s body language betrayed the fact he was a beaten man.

Kessler pounced quickly on his stricken opponent, once again going back to the body. He unloaded several hard shots to both sides of the midsection and forced the stoppage at 2:25 of the sixth round when Bouadla dropped to one knee.

It was a dominant performance from a fighter many expect to challenge for either the IBF or WBO super middleweight title before the end of the year. That would set up a blockbuster unification bout with whoever emerges from the Super Six holding the WBA and WBC belts Kessler once proudly held.

Based on his comeback fight, Kessler will prove a stern test for whomever he steps in the ring against.