Kessler looks sharp after layoff

The Super Six World Boxing Classic semis are in the record books. With his victory Saturday, WBC World Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch (28-1, 20, KO) is set to fight undefeated WBA Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KO) later this year for the Super Six World Boxing Classic championship.

Although Saturday’s fight was by no means a disappointment, the Cobra’s majority-decision victory over Glen Johnson in New Jersey went the way many expected. The victory now paves the way for what should be an exciting night between Ward and Froch resulting in the unification of the WBC and WBA belts, bringing a close to a tournament that began in 2009.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, the man once favored to win the tournament made his return to ring in style. Mikkel Kessler (43-2, 32 KOs), who was replaced by Johnson after a serious eye injury forced him out of the Super Six competition, fought Mehdi Bouadla (22-3, 10 KOs) in Copenhagen this week. Kessler showed little, if any, ring rust after the 14-month layoff. He put on a great show against Bouadla who was dominated by the returning former champ. Kessler ended the fight in the sixth round with a TKO after working Bouadla’s body hard.

Things are certainly looking up for 2012.

Kessler looks fit and ready to make a challenge for the IBF or WBO title by the end of the year. In a post-fight interview, he let it be known that his eye is doing great and he’s ready for any fight as long as it’s a title fight. Should Kessler make a successful bid for the title, it would setup a huge unification bout, possibly uniting the WBA, WBC and either the IBF or WBO titles.

Many believe that Kessler’s next fight will be with IBF titlist Lucian Bute. Based in Quebec, the Romanian silenced critics when he stopped Librado Andrade with a dominating performance in the fourth round. While he has to face his mandatory challenger Jean-Paul Mendy next month, it’s an open secret that Showtime is looking to match him up against either Kessler or former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik this fall. Either way it will most likely set up a blockbuster unification bout with the winner of the Super Six, possibly uniting the WBA, WBC and IBF titles. Having been the one world class super middleweight to never enter Showtime’s innovative tournament, Bute will surely be looking to prove himself by defeating the winner of the Super Six.

Boxing fans have much to look forward to from the 168-pound division. Ward vs. Froch has been two years in the making and will decide the Super Six World Boxing Classic. But whoever wins will be just one player in perhaps the deepest weight class in boxing, with Kessler or Bute likely to have staked their claim as one half of 2012’s first super middleweight super fight.