Philadelphia —Yusaf Mack says he’s a better, smarter fighter than he was a year ago. Losing to a few contenders like Tavoris Cloud and Glen Johnson has infused the 32-year-old Philadelphia light heavyweight with a new perspective.
The new version of Mack, 31-4-2 (17 KOs), says he’ll be ready when he fights IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch, 29-2 (21 KOs), on November 17 in Nottingham, England. The Matchroom Sport-promoted show will be Froch’s first title defense.
It’s been over five years since Mack’s last fight at super middleweight, when he was stopped by Librado Andrade in the seventh round on October 6, 2007.
“I’m real excited and I know they doubt me, because I saw the interview online today when they asked Froch why he’s fighting me, and all the press in London spoke their mind that I shouldn’t be fighting him,” said Mack, taking a break in training from Shuler’s Gym in Philadelphia. “They brought up that I lost to Glen Johnson and Tavoris Cloud, and it was like I’m not worthy enough to fight Froch.
“I’m going to work my ass off for this fight and leave everything in the gym. I think Johnson and Cloud are tougher than Froch, all day. I was the first person to ever drop Librado Andrade. I know everyone has me fading in the sixth or seventh rounds. But my last big fight, I dropped Omar Sheika in the 12th round. I like being underestimated. When I’m in shape, I don’t think anyone can beat me.”
That’s because Mack learned from his experiences in the Johnson and Cloud fights. He was stopped in the eighth round against Cloud on June 25, 2011, when he was up on one of the judge’s scorecards. Against Johnson, he was stopped in the sixth on February 5, 2010.
“I faded in both of those fights, and those are things I can correct,” Mack said. “I think I learned from the Johnson and Cloud fights that I can beat these dudes. You’ll see, I’m going to beat Froch real bad. I’m going to close both of his eyes so he can’t report it to the police who did it. I’m probably going to fight before the largest crowd I ever fought before, and I’m going to go in relaxed. It’s the biggest fight of my life, going to another country.”
Mack also is aware of another fact: Froch has never lost in his backyard, Nottingham. “I know it’s a no-win situation for me, because I realize I’m going to have to knock him out to win,” said Mack. “But I’m a smarter Yusaf Mack—one that sticks to his game plan. I’ll have no problems making the weight. I’ll be ready.”
Photo / Ed Mulholland – Fightwireimages