Joe Calzaghe vs. Mikkel Kessler
2007-11-03 : Joe Calzaghe 166½ lbs beat Mikkel Kessler 168 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
- Referee: Mike Ortega
- Judge: Raul Caiz Sr 117-111
- Judge: John Stewart 116-112
- Judge: Massimo Barrovecchio 116-112
- World Boxing Organization Super Middleweight Title (21st defense by Calzaghe)
- World Boxing Association Super Middleweight Title (5th defense by Kessler)
- World Boxing Council Super Middleweight Title (2nd defense by Kessler)
- Onsite Poster
- HBO poster
- The Unified Rules of Boxing were used for this bout
- Calzaghe successfully defended his Ring Magazine World Super Middleweight Championship for the third time.
- The fight was televised by HBO in the United States. The network paid a $3,000,000 license fee and spent another seven figures for marketing and production. But the fight attracted just 1.591 million live viewers. It was, at the time, the lowest ratings ever for a prime-time telecast of HBO World Championship Boxing.
What else can you call Calzaghe's performance other than pure brilliance? In front of a monster crowd of 50,150 fans in his home country, Calzaghe, 35, punched his Hall of Fame ticket with a dominant victory in an exciting fight against an outstanding opponent. It's not that Kessler, the 28-year-old "Viking Warrior" from Denmark, fought poorly. It's that Calzaghe was that good.
The fight was even through four rounds, but then Calzaghe took over and won virtually the rest of the bout with an assortment of hard punches, underrated defense, a strong chin and more energy than Kessler, who was simply at a loss as to what to do in the second half of the fight. When it was over, it was obvious that Calzaghe, the longest-reigning active champion in boxing (more than 10 years), had his 21st defense under his belt. He kept the Ring magazine title and his own sanctioning organization's belt while picking up the two alphabet belts Kessler had. The fourth alphabet belt used to belong to Calzaghe but was stripped from him.
There can be no question that Calzaghe is the supreme commander of the 168-pound division in all the world and it is not a reach to call him the greatest fighter in the 23-year history of the division. It's either Calzaghe or Roy Jones Jr., but Jones' stay at 168 was brief -- just two years and five defenses.
Calzaghe's win was even more impressive than his March 2006 coming out party against Jeff Lacy. The win against Lacy made the rest of the world finally take notice of Wales' favorite son, but this win against formidable Kessler -- a much stronger fighter than Lacy -- cemented his place among the top two or three fighters in the world pound-for-pound.
Kessler probably would have beaten any other super middleweight in the world on this night. He'll be back and probably win more titles. He's young, exciting, talented and still hungry. HBO certainly likes him enough to bring him back off this defeat.
As for Calzaghe, the time has come for him to step up to light heavyweight. There's nothing left to achieve at 168. There's talk of an eventual fight with the winner of the Kelly Pavlik-Jermain Taylor II fight, but Calzaghe wants light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins, who has no obvious big-fight opponent. Hopefully, sanity will prevail when it comes to negotiating money and they can make the fight, which could bring Calzaghe to America for the first time before he retires.
Mikkel Kessler vs. Librado Andrade
| WBA Super Middleweight Title Fight
Joe Calzaghe vs. Peter Manfredo Jr.
|WBO Super Middleweight Fight||Succeeded by:|