'If I have to kill Kessler to keep my title, I will. I want to do serious damage.' Froch vows to deliver violent showdown with Great Dane
The fighting friendship between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler fell apart on the final approach to Saturday’s big fight when Britain’s world super-middleweight champion said: ‘I want to kill him.’
Froch revealed the unsuspected anger that has been festering since Kessler was given a close points decision over the Nottingham fighter in Denmark three years ago when he said: ‘Never mind all this stuff about being pals. I want to put him out of the game.
‘If I have to kill him to keep my title then I will. In fact, the way I feel now, I want to do him serious damage.
‘Yes, kill him.’
As he shattered the perception of their friendship, the IBF champion spat out more venom, saying: ‘Frankly, I’ve become sick of Mikkel. The truth is this is now personal.’
The mutual respect between the pair as warriors remains but Froch explained the breakdown in friendship: ‘As football crowds chant, “Who do you think you are?” What makes him think he can come to my country and say that he’s going to prove himself better than me, not only in Denmark where he had everything going for him, but also over here?’
The boxing world has been agog for weeks with anticipation of another ring war in the epic mould of their first fight. But Froch is now taking that prospect literally ahead of their London showdown.
So much so that he goes on: ‘If I hit him so hard and so often that he is in serious trouble I want to go in and finish him. So much so that when we get to that point I hope the referee doesn’t interfere. There will come a moment in this fight when the boxing goes out of the window. So no more Mr Nice Guy.’
As Froch declared his violent intentions he pointed to the goosebumps on his arms and said: ‘Hairs are already up on the back of my neck. I wish the fight was starting right now.’
But was it all just to boost TV sales?
There is certain to be an outcry about the graphic nature of Carl Froch’s ‘Kill Kessler’ remarks.
The rationale is likely to be two-fold: first that he was speaking in the high tension which all boxers inhabit in the last two or three days before the fight, especially one of this magnitude.
Second, there is no doubt that what he has had to say about what he would like to do to his world title challenger, Mikkel Kessler, might have been said with one eye on Sky’s pay-per-view television sales.
Yet the British Boxing Board of Control are bound to examine his statements. If he has overstepped the mark, there could be the possibility of a fine.
However, they will bear in mind that Froch is the No 1 standard bearer for boxing in this country and has an impeccable disciplinary record.
Joker of the pack: Kessler grins at Froch (above) after arriving at the press conference (below)
Confident: Froch is adamant he will avenge his defeat to Kessler
He admitted: ‘I’m really angry. I know I will have to channel that anger into my boxing and I’m now going to talk to my trainer (Rob McCracken) to make sure that I’m under control. But when Mikkel says he’s ready for what we’re both going to face in the ring then for his own sake he bloody well better be.’
What made Froch’s statement of intent all the more chilling was that he said it within the context of a calm mood. Although he admitted to being nervous, he also reported himself excited and delighted with the attention being showered upon what now seems certain to be the greatest fight involving a British boxer so far this century.
Froch was even specific about the kind of injury he might inflict on Kessler, who holds the ‘under’ WBA title one rung below that organisation’s champion Andre Ward.
Kessler has previously confessed that he thought his career was over because of an eye injury sustained in his win over Froch. Froch now says: ‘If I see the slightest sign of that weakness I will go for it.
‘The last time I felt this motivated and driven was before the fight with Lucian Bute in which I became a three-time world champion. And everyone knows what I did to him and it looks like I may have ended his career.’
Kessler has said he is likely to retire if he loses in London’s sold-out O2 Arena and Froch is determined to make that happen.
With friends like Froch, who needs enemies?