Forgotten Fades – Mikkel Kessler vs Librado Andrade

Mikkel Kessler is one of the good, borderline great super middleweights of the last 25 years.  5 reigns as super middleweight champion.  Great fights with the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, and Andre Ward.  An outstanding record of 49-3 with 35 coming by way of knockout.  The “Viking Warrior” had accomplished a lot in his career with possibly only an induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame left to attain.  Yet for some reason his name is not really mentioned or brought up as much today.  Kessler, for the most part, has been very quiet and lowkey in his retirement.  To me it is almost like he has been forgotten.  Well, I am going to shed some light on one of his fights that I feel that does not get enough mention.  Librado Andrade, a rugged durable fighter from Mexico, would be the man signed to face Kessler in his HBO debut.  Andrade had been a contender in the division for some time.  He would win an WBC eliminator in his previous fight knocking out former world champion Otis Grant in 7 rounds.  Kessler at the time was a unified WBA and WBC Super Middleweight Champion.  A clash between 2 then undefeated fighters.  Kessler with a 38-0 record, Andrade with a 24-0 record.  The stage was now set.

                I will say this from the opening bell, Kessler did not waste any time to get to work. It was the start of the one of the most astounding one-sided beatings that I have ever seen in the ring.  Kessler established his jab early.  You can hear the impact as it landed on Andrade’s face.  The rest of the fight followed a very noticeable pattern.  Andrade moving forward trying to land a shot.  Kessler hitting him with the jab, to the head or body, with the right hand behind it.  On occasion he would mix up that combination with a left hook. It was incredible the number of flush punches that Kessler was landing on Andrade.  Andrade, as tough as they come, still pressed forward and still throwing punches.  Surprisingly, the first to draw blood was Andrade.  He managed to bloody Kessler’s nose with a right hand in round 3.  That would be his only real offensive highlight of this fight.  The problem was Andrade could not hit Kessler with anything.  Kessler’s footwork was so on point. He was going backwards, going side to side, showing great lateral movement that Andrade could not get anything off.   When Andrade threw something, Kessler was throwing back 3-4 punch combinations or making him reset with the jabs to the body, feints, and then more right hands.  The Denmark crowd was absolutely loving the action they were watching from their hometown fighter.

By round 5, you can hear the concern from the HBO broadcasting crew for the wellbeing of Andrade.  Musing that either Laurence Cole, the ref, or Wayne McCullough, Andrade’s trainer should really step in and pull Andrade out. In the 2nd half of the fight, Andrade continued to make no adjustments.  He was still throwing but the zip was starting to come off his punches.  But man, his chin is incredible as was his stamina.  To also note, his face somehow stood up to the punishment that Kessler was doling out.  No cuts, blood, and swollen faces.  That also is not normal in the realm of fights like this either.  Andrade did try to rally in the 11th round, but Kessler managed to weather that storm. By the final round, Kessler clearly had a huge lead in the fight and Andrade is hopelessly behind.  Usually, the ref will have the fighters touch gloves before they start the 12th round. Instead in a unique show of sportsmanship, they hugged it out instead.  Kessler was in his right to coast at that point, but instead he attempted to put Andrade away.  He managed to stagger Andrade briefly as well as knockout his mouthpiece.  There were no more rallies from Andrade, but he managed to weather Kessler’s final assault before the bell rang.

The Lop-sided punch stats

                The decision was pretty much anti-climactic as Mikkel Kessler retained his WBC and WBA Super Middleweight belts by unanimous decision.  All 3 judges scored the bout 120 to 108.  It was that one sided a beating.   I mean look at the official punch stats from CompuBox.  Andrade threw more punches than Kessler, but Kessler landed on an almost 4 to 1 ratio.  All you can do really is shake your head at that stat.  I already touched upon earlier in the article how Mikkel Kessler’s career would unfold after this fight.  What about the career of Librado Andrade?   Librado Andrade would suffer his first career loss in his first title shot.  After a fight like this, you would think a fighter would accumulate serious mileage.  Not Andrade, who would pretty much remain a top contender at 168 for the next 3 to 4 years.  During that time, he would score stoppages over the likes of future world champion Robert Stieglitz and former world champion Eric Lucas.  He would also fight for a Super Middleweight title on 2 more occasions.  Both of those title shots coming against then IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute.    The first fight with Bute was infamous for a really suspect call from referee Marlon Wright.  In the waning moments of the fight and down on the cards, Andrade manages to drop Bute heavily to the canvas.  Wright, in the middle of his count, would break from it to tell Andrade to get back in the neutral corner.  The problem was Andrade was already in a neutral corner.   In the eyes of many Bute got a “long count” and as such was able to escape a KO loss and remain champion.  Andrade’s rematch with Bute however would tell a different story.  In his final title shot, Andrade would be stopped by Bute in only 4 rounds.  The first knockout loss of his career.  He would go 2-2 in the final 4 fights of his career.   An upset loss to Aaron Pryor Jr via majority decision and a brutal 3rd round TKO loss to an unheralded Rowland Bryant.  Andrade would retire in 2013 with a 31-5 record with 24 knockouts. Not too much is known about what he has been doing in his retirement.  Hopefully not paying the price for numerous hard fights he had and is healthy to boot.  Just like Kessler’s effort, we also shouldn’t forget the effort of Andrade.  Not too many one-sided fights are action packed but this is right up there.  High recommendation to watch.

By Patscorpio