Home-field advantage is usually reserved for spots like Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke or CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Boxing bettors, however, are putting a lot of weight into the venue for this weekend’s rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler.
Froch (-245) collides with Kessler (+205) at the O2 Arena in London, giving the native of Nottingham, England a decisive hometown edge. Partisan crowds are no twist for fight fans but with the way the venue impacted the outcome of the first meeting between Froch and Kessler, it’s no wonder the money is siding with the Britt.
Kessler took a unanimous decision win over Froch in his home country of Denmark during the Super Six World Boxing Classic in April 2010. While the judges sided in Kessler’s favor, 116–112, 115–113 and 117–111, many others scored a closer bout with even some siding with Froch.
“Sharper players accounted for the venues in all the Super Six tournament bouts and bet accordingly,” renowned boxing oddsmaker Joey Oddessa told Covers
. “They bet Kessler in Denmark in 2010 and now Froch is seeing heavy action with home-field advantage. I'd be surprised if Kessler won on the road. A loss sets up a trilogy while a Froch loss at home can put a big dent in Froch's current stock.”
Since losing to Kessler, Froch has gone on to a 4-1 record. He’s coming off back-to-back wins over Lucian Bute and Yusaf Mack, scoring a KO victory in both bouts which were held in his hometown of Nottingham.
Kessler has also benefited from friendly confines since his win over Froch. He’s won three straight fights, all of which have come via KO and all have been hosted in his home country. His lone career blemishes have both come outside of Denmark – losing to Andre Ward in California and Joe Calzaghe in Wales.
The judges for Saturday’s super middleweight title bout are from Venezuela, France, and the United States and the referee is a native of the U.S. with plenty of international experience. But while these are all unbiased officials, Oddessa warns that the home crowd can still have a major influence on the outcome.
“All competent officials but crowd, venue, and ultimately revenge all motivate and favor Froch,” he says. “While Froch may have been in tougher opposition recently and taken some shots, it will take the absolute best of Kessler to exit the arena with a draw or a career-defining performance to win the fight. If Froch doesn't stop Kessler late I think he'll coast to a 116-112 or wider decision on the cards.”
Oddsmakers have priced Froch by 12-round decision at +155 while Froch by KO, TKO, DQ is listed at +230.