The assembled northern Germany crowd at Wesner Ems Halle in Oldenburg gave a boisterous hometown ovation to Danilo Haussler, from Frankfurt, as he challenged WBA Super-middleweight champ Mikkel Kessler Saturday night.
It wasn't nearly enough. In fact, it might have led to Haussler's brutal undoing sooner rather than later. Still, judging from how formidable the rock hard Kessler looked the result would have been the same even if a dozen guys in the bleachers jumped in to help their severely outgunned countryman. That's not to say something like that was possible. German fight crowds are very polite, and Kessler has earned plenty of respect in these parts.
"The Viking Warrior" Kessler, a 29 year old Monaco resident from Denmark, improved to 41-1 (31) with a devastating knockout at 1:08 of the third round.
"I did exactly what I had to do," said a matter of fact Kessler, who barely broke a sweat. "I wanted to march over him and I did."
"Mikkel Kessler is the strongest man I've ever seen," said a worse for wear Haussler. "The bitter disappointment is that I let the fight go too fast. My mistake is that I probably over trained and tried too hard."
Maybe the 33 year old Haussler, 29-4-1 (7), got too psyched up by the screaming swarm and his big time opportunity. He abandoned his defensive prowess that was touted coming in and became more aggressive early in the fight than expected. The crowd might have loved it, but he ended up walking into a buzz saw.
It came down to the basic fact that Haussler had never faced a truly world class fighter like Kessler.
Kessler wore red gloves, Haussler black. The red ones slammed in with big scoring shots again and again, the black ones were only good for a few glancing blows. It was soon obvious that any points scored would become academic regarding the outcome.
In the opening round, Kessler scored with immediate lead lefts and a pair of right hand blasts that gave the challenger a grim taste of what was to come.
Kessler used the left as a measuring stick and adjusted his range to tee off with more and more rights.
Haussler had minor success standing his ground in the second, but by the end of the session his left eye was cut underneath and swelling closed. He probably didn't need it to see what was soon coming.
The pounding continued in the third until Kessler landed a furious combination, followed by a straight left that caught Haussler square on the chin and clobbered him to the canvas flat on his back in a daze. Referee Stanley Christodoulou counted him out.
"When his eye got swollen I knew he was vulnerable and went after it," said Kessler. "Next I want a unification fight."
It will be interesting to see who's willing to step up to the plate, and whether Kessler comes to the States for a showcase.
In the featured preliminary bout, "Kap'n" Marco Huck, 23-1 (18), stopped Italian Fabio Tuiach at 2:22 of the second session. Huck gained the European cruiserweight title in a tough contest against Jean Marc Monrose just a little over a month ago (9-20-08). Tonight Huck looked fresh as the proverbial duking daisy as he blasted out the overmatched Tuiach, 22-2 (14).
Huck caught Tuiach on the ropes and pounded him down in serious trouble until referee Dave Parris stepped in.
Huck is now scheduled to face Russian Valery Brudow on January 24, 2009. Huck's only pro defeat is a respectable 12th round stoppage loss to IBF titlist Steve Cunningham in December '07. Now the popular Huck is anxious for another title try, but his team indicates there's still some fine tuning to be done before shooting for all the marbles again.
They're probably right to be patient.
Huck might have looked strong, but tonight it was Mikkel Kessler who demonstrated the reality of what a real champion is supposed to look like.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV