Probably considering how Cole surpassed Kessler vastly even after his powers were broken by the Beast's (John's) first appearance. The Behemoth (Bertrand) although devoid of intelligence during his transformation gave Cole quite a bit of trouble during their first encounter as conduits. Again the above is wrong because Kessler purposefully made it so Cole of the past far surpassed him not only in prowess but also in mental fortitude and determination. In short Kessler made a man out of himself by putting himself (New present) through hell in Empire city. He never cared for the Karmic decisions Cole would make he simply wanted Cole ready and set on the path to defeat the Beast that Kessler ran from.