IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch insists he is taking the threat of American fringe contender Yusaf Mack extremely seriously going into their November 17 showdown in Nottingham, England.
It would be fair to say that news confirming the Brit will make the first defense of his IBF belt against 32-year-old Mack – as first revealed by RingTV.com on Monday – has hardly set pulses racing on the UK side of the Atlantic.
For starters, the challenger from Philadelphia is a light heavyweightwho in the past has struggled when dropping a division. Then, to further dampen enthusiasm for a possible shock, there is the fact 35-year-old three-time titleholder Froch has never tasted defeat on home soil and will have a vociferous 9,000 sell-out crowd supporting him at his local Capital FM Arena in Nottingham.
If previously-undefeated Lucian Bute was unable to cope in Froch’s own backyard, the chances of Mack (31-4-2, 17 knockouts) doing so appear rather slim. Perhaps, the only real danger for the Englishman, who has a rematch against Bute scheduled for next March in Montreal, is allowing his mind to wander from the immediate task in hand.
That seems highly unlikely, however, with Froch expecting Mack to be a physically-superior obstacle, more than capable of withstanding his own ferocious punching power.
“He’s going to be used to getting hit by bigger, stronger opponents,” said Froch (29-2, 21 KOs) on Sky Sports News. “I boxed Glen Johnson in the Super Six tournament. He was a light heavyweight and I could tell when he was walking forward, soaking up my punches, I wasn’t going to get him out of there.
“Yusaf Mack is a very big, strong guy. He’s a top, world-ranked opponent but his ranking is actually at light heavyweight, so he’s going to provide a different kind of test for me. I need to be picking decent sparring partners that are big and strong and can take my power. We’ll gear the sparring towards big strong lads for this challenge.”
Froch knows he will have his work cut out to reproduce the type of explosive performance that enabled him to finish off Bute in five sensational rounds back in May. But he is promising more fireworks for the Midlands fans.
“The Bute win will go down as one of the greatest nights of my life and I plan on doing something special against Mack too,” he said. “I am just glad to be fighting a credible opponent. And a home defense in Nottingham is fantastic.”
The Froch-Mack card forms part of a major new two-year deal between Sky Sports and Matchroom Sport. Matchroom, led by Eddie Hearn, is now the TV channel’s chief boxing promoter. Together, Sky and Matchroom will stage and show 40 nights of live fight action, kicking off on September 8 with Tony Bellew’s light heavyweight bout against Edison Miranda at the Alexandra Palace, north London.
“I am delighted that Matchroom has reached this ground-breaking agreement with Sky Sports,” said Hearn. “The future of boxing for fight fans and TV viewers is deeper bills with more title fights and more competitive fights in packed out arenas.Sky Sports and Matchroom Sport want to deliver across the board for fight fans and broadcast quality shows.”