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Calzaghe-Kessler breakdown

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

CARDIFF, Wales – Unbeaten super middleweight champions Joe Calzaghe (43-0, 32 KOs) and Mikkel Kessler (39-0, 29 KOs) will square off Saturday before an expected crowd of about 50,000 at Millennium Stadium for the WBA-WBC-WBO belts in a fight being broadcast live on HBO. Here are the keys to victory for each man:

Keys to victory
1. Double jab: Calzaghe is most effective when he doubles or triples on his jab, which opens opponents for other punches. 1. Lead with the right: Kessler has a hard and accurate straight right, which he can pop over Calzaghe's jab if he's quick with it.

2. Change directions: Kessler tends to fight in straight lines, so if Calzaghe can keep changing directions, he'll force Kessler to reset frequently. 2. The old 1-2: Every jab Kessler throws should be followed by a straight right.

3. Hook to the body and head: Calzaghe has a good, hard hook, which he can make more effective by going down and then up with it. 3. Back Calzaghe up: Calzaghe hasn't proven he can fight well going backwards.

4. Stay off the ropes: Calzaghe's hand speed is neutralized and the hard-hitting Kessler will get the opportunity to pound away if Calzaghe is trapped. 4. High pace: It's been a battle for Calzaghe to make weight. Kessler should try to keep the pace quick to test Calzaghe's conditioning and will.

Rating the fighters
Comparison of Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler on a rating of 1 to 10 in several key categories:
on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:
Punching power 8 9 Juan hits harder than people think
Jab 9 8 Calzaghe's jab is fast, hard and accurate.
Body attack 8 8 A body attack could decide the outcome.
Speed and quickness 9 7 Hand speed is perhaps Calzaghe's biggest advantage.
Defense 8 8 Calzaghe has been hit more recently, a bad sign.
Chin 6 8 Calzaghe has gone down against men not considered great punchers.
Stamina 9 9 Kessler looks magnificent.
Corner 7 7 Each has had the same chief trainer for his entire career.
Intangibles 9 8 The home crowd may be the difference.

Total 73 72 Calzaghe has more ways to win and, with a home crowd spurring him on, should pull out a unanimous decision.