Top weekend fights being fought for their country’s honor

Carl Froch (27-1, 20 KO’s) of Great Britain vs. Glen Johnson (51-14-2, 35 KO’s) of Jamaica

At the podium for their final press conference in New York, the 42 year-old Glen Johnson of Miami, Florida by way of Clarendon, Jamaica spoke very matter-of-factly. “We had a great training camp. I’m not about lip service. I’m not about the talk. But Saturday night, I’ll finish the conversation.”

Like Johnson, Carl Froch of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, got straight to the point. “I’ve not come this far, to this part of my career, to let it slip. I’m too young, too fresh and too strong. From round one through round 12, I’m too focused and I’ll dominate.”

After 10 bouts featuring eight outstanding participants over a two year period, Showtime’s “Super Six” round-robin tournament finally comes down to just two boxers and one fight after Saturday night’s semifinal battle between Johnson and Froch at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom inside the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Both boxers haven’t fought since November of last year. Johnson’s coming off that TKO victory over Allan Green while Froch dominated King Arthur Abraham.

Over the last three years Johnson has lost three times, once to Tavoris Cloud and twice to Chad Dawson. Over the same period, Froch lost just once but decisively to one of the tournament favorite’s Mikkel Kessler who had to bow out of the tournament after an injury. The winner of this bout gets the dubious honor of facing Andre Ward in the finals.

Co-promoter Lou DiBella addressed the running theme of the press conference, that being Johnson’s age. “An old man last weekend showed what’s possible when there’s still greatness left in an old body.” Everyone knew he made reference to Bernard Hopkins and his win over Jean Pascal. “And there’s still greatness left in Glen Johnson.”


Cesar Chavez Jr. (42-0-1 30 KOs) of Mexico vs. Sebastian Zbik (30-0, 10 KOs) of Germany


Earlier today, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sebastian Zbik also met for their final press conference at the Golden State Ballroom at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles.

Strange as it may seem, the last time Chavez Jr. of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico fought in Los Angeles was on the undercard of his father’s fight against Ivan Robinson on May 28, 2005. That’s a little over six years ago. On that date, Junior knocked out Adam Wynant (9-3-1) in the first round.

Chavez Jr. is looking to become the first Mexican middleweight to become WBC champion and also follow his father’s footsteps. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. won his first world title in 1984 defeating Mario Martinez by TKO at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, just blocks away from the Staples Center where his son will be fighting for his first world title.

Zbik, who’s from Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany and fighting for the first time in the U.S., is making his third title defense. He won the interim WBC Middleweight Title in July 2009 over Domenico Spada.

Zbik’s manager, Dietmar Poszwa, spoke of the fight’s significance to German fight fans. “Everybody is talking about the possible victory of Julio on Saturday following in his father’s legacy, but Sebastian Zbik will be following in the footsteps of Max Schmeling, when he becomes the second German fighter to win a world championship fight in the United States.”

Mikkel Kessler (43-2, 32 KOs) of Denmark versus Mehdi Bouadla (22-3, 10 KOs) of France

Team Bouadla of Aulnay-sous-Bois, Seine-Saint-Denis, France, stated they’re convinced the 14-month layoff has made WBC super middleweight world champion emeritus Kessler of Monaco by way of Copenhagen, Denmark, rusty. On Saturday night, the Viking Warrior returns to the ring for the first time since his points victory over the then-WBC Champion Carl Froch, to take on Bouadla who is ranked No. 5 by the WBO.

If need be, Parken Stadium, Denmark’s National Stadium, can hold up to 50,000 screaming fans.

“In life, it’s all about timing, and now is the time to beat Kessler,” said Bernard Roos, Boudla’s promoter at today’s final press conference at Parken Stadium. “Kessler is a great champion and in six months he will beat everybody, including Ward and Froch, but now after his long break Mehdi “The Bull” Bouadla will rise to the occasion and defeat him.”

Bouadla was in full agreement. “I respect Mikkel but I am here to win. I think the long break has made him rusty. This is my ticket to the big fights. There will be a lot of disappointed Danish fans on Saturday night.”

Kessler was unimpressed by their statements. “I have trained hard and I’m in excellent shape. It’s great to be back. I am full of power and I am ready to take care of business on Saturday night. It will be exciting to fight in front of my home fans at Parken. I will put on a great show. It is still my ambition to prove myself as the best super-middleweight out there and Bouadla will not get in my way.”


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