Lisburn's veteran super middleweight Brian Magee will travel to Denmark to defend his WBA title against Viking Warrior Mikkel Kessler on Saturday night. It's a meaningless interim belt Magee holds as Andre Ward is the WBA Super Champion, but the winner here will get a mandatory shot at Ward. Magee's career is undergoing something of an Indian summer after wins against Jaime Barboza and a shock knockout victory over Rudy Markussen, also in Denmark. He fights southpaw, goes well to the body and is a good inside fighter with decent power.
His problem is he's up against one of the elite guys in the division. Kessler is an aggressive, well-schooled power puncher with an effective jab, punishing straight right and vicious left hook. While he fights in a predictable rhythm and has the odd defensive lapse very few can handle him. He beat Carl Froch in a close but clear decision and his only two losses were to Joe Calzaghe and Andre Ward, who both seem certain to be first ballot Hall of Famers.
Magee is a good fighter who has lost whenever he has made that step up to world-class level and I don't see how at 37 he avoids that fate here in Kessler's backyard. He remains unbeaten in Denmark and the left hook that knocked Allan Green unconscious in his last fight shows that his power is still there. Most guys don't make it the distance with Kessler. Bute and Froch both knocked Magee out late and I would expect Kessler to do the same. Motivation is not a problem as beating Magee is how he gets his rematch with Ward. The Dane by KO is at 1.57 and that's what I recommend. Magee is good and he’s game but at this level he’ll always be found wanting.