Here is the unspoken beauty of Showtime's Super Six tournament: a world-class champion can have an off night, get absolutely pounded and in his next fight get a shot at another title -- and a chance for redemption.
Kessler's reign was interrupted again, however, last November when he faced
"I had to go back to boxing school," Kessler said in a conference call. "I'm so happy to be in this tournament with another chance to show all my boxing fans that I am the best."
Indeed, the Super Six's modified round-robin format gives Kessler an opportunity he otherwise may have had to wait months, if not years for. On Saturday night Kessler will challenge
"This will be the biggest fight ever in Denmark," said Kessler's promoter,
None of that is relevant to Kessler (42-2, 32 KOs), who is at a career crossroads. A win elevates him back among the division's elite. A loss would likely knock him out of the tournament. Understanding this, Kessler has re-tooled his game plan -- I have changed a lot of tactics," Kessler said, "but I can't reveal [them] right now" -- and claims he's in his "best shape ever" for this fight.
"I learned from my mistakes after the Ward fight," Kessler said. "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. I hope Carl is ready because I've trained very hard the last three months."
Shifting roles from favorite to underdog, Kessler says, is a good thing. Kessler admits he didn't respond well to the pressure of being No. 1.
"It's nice not to be the favorite in this tournament," Kessler said. "I'm like a young warrior again. And I'm super hungry again. 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."
No doubt, the tournament needs a competitive Kessler. Injuries, postponements and
The tournament needs an entertaining fight to regain some of the public spotlight. And Kessler needs a win to step back into the light with it.