Kessler takes Magee's title
Mikkel Kessler won a strand of the super-middleweight title for a fourth time with a third-round stoppage of Brian Magee in Denmark.
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The 'Viking Warrior' remained on course for a re-match with Britain's Carl Froch next year with a devastating victory over the ageing Northern Irishman.
Magee entered the ring with the WBA strap after winning the interim title last year but this was expected to be little more than one final payday, and so it proved.
The first round saw little in the way of action as the pair sized each other up, the southpaw Magee in particular finding it hard to land convincingly.
However, the second session was very different after Kessler landed a rapier-like right-hand to the solar-plexus - Magee immediately crumpling to the canvas.
That the outgoing champion made it to the final bell was a surprise in itself as Kessler reigning down further blows downstairs, while Magee also took a slew of head shots.
Another right to the body clearly hurt Magee and he turned his back on the Dane as if to say 'no more'.
The referee administered a standing count before the bell sounded and it was unlikely that a minute would be enough to give Magee sufficient breathing space.
With the veteran clearly in trouble to the slightest punch to the body, Kessler zoned in on his target and sure enough Magee went down again but this time the referee had seen enough.
Magee was quick to pay tribute to Kessler after being outclassed in Denmark.
"He is a great champion and he deserved to win," he said.
"I never recovered from the first knock-down, which was a huge shot from him. I tried my best but couldn't beat him. Congratulations to him."
The win took Kessler's record to 46-2 with 35 knockouts and he said: "It feels great to be champion again.
"We planned to go to the body and it worked very well. I am back at the very top, I am ready for everybody out there at super-middleweight."
One option for Kessler would be a potential rematch with Carl Froch, who has made no secret of his desire for another bout with the 33-year-old after being beaten by a close points decision when the two met in April 2010 in a pulsating encounter.
Froch was a guest pundit for Sky Sports and admitted the fighters' promoters have already been in discussions about a return bout next year, possibly in the United Kingdom.
"I think (a rematch) is already step one completed because they've had a productive conversation and it's looking promising that the fight can definitely happen in the spring or early summer in 2013," he said.
"They'll be talking now in the couple of days following that.
"The only sensible fight out there for the fans, for the television, for me and for Mikkel is the rematch.
"The first fight was a humdinger. Everybody loved it who watched it and to get the rematch everyone's going to get excited."
The two are friends and Froch, who defeated veteran Magee in 2006, claimed he was the one to tell Kessler to focus his attack to the body.
"I said to him 'if it's a quiet opening then have a look to his body'," added the self-styled Cobra.
"Well done Mikkel, you took my advice well but if you come to the UK you'll be leaving that black belt with me."