Three-time titlewinner and current IBF super middleweight beltholder Carl Froch, of England, has vowed to make Philadephia’s Yusaf Mack pay for calling him “a fake Joe Calzaghe” when they meet on Saturday night at the Capital FM Arena before Froch’s hometown fans in Nottingham, England.
A former super middleweight champ, Calzaghe, of Wales, retired undefeated without Froch (29-2-1, 21 knockouts) ever receiving the opportunity to face him.
A former light heavyweigth who has won two straight bouts since falling by eighth-round knockout to IBF 175-pound titleholde Tavoris Cloud last June, Mack (31-4, 17 KOs) has expressed confidence despite returning to the venue where Froch dethroned previously unbeaten southpaw Lucian Bute (30-1, 24 KOs) by fifth-round stoppage in his last fight in May.
“I got under his skin with the Calzaghe comment, and I hope that’s to my advantage on the night. On Saturday, I’m going to prove that I’m ready for this fight. I’ve lived in the gym and I’ve given myself the chance to show that I am the fighter I can be. I really believe I’m going to be taking the belt home,” said Mack, 32.
“I haven’t come to fight the crowd. I’ll block them out on Saturday, and I have nothing to prove to them. Froch has the pressure to impress them, not me. He’s said he’s going to knock me out, so the pressure is on him to do that. When I’m still standing there after the sixth round, when people think I’m going to tire, what’s he going to do? I don’t fade and he can’t beat me.”
Nicknamed “The Cobra,” Froch, 35, told Mack, face-to-face, during a recent press conference at Capital FM Arena that the challenger would “face my wrath” during what will be the Englishman’s ninth straight title fight.
“I was just letting him know that he said too much when my back was turned, and it might be inside his mind that I’m a bit wound up. I just wanted him to know he talked a load of rubbish on Ringside about Joe Calzaghe, but he probably spoke without thinking, so I put him right on that,” said Froch.
“I have to put on a good performance, be strong, sharp and confident, put my work together and put educated pressure on him because he could be dangerous. He’s not a big and tall light heavyweight, so he could be better at super middleweight. I’m not taking anything for granted and I am making sure that I do my work right and that will be enough to defend my title in style.”
MORE ON CALZAGHE
A 40-year-old former undisputed super middleweight titleholder and former RING light heavyweight champ, Calzaghe retired with a mark of 46-0 that included 32 knockouts.
Among the greatest triumphs for Calzaghe were those over former beltholders Jeff Lacy, Mikkel Kessler and, in consecutive bouts, RING light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and former champ Roy Jones Jr., the latter being his final bout in November of 2008.
Lacy and Kessler were unbeaten when Calzaghe vanquished them both by unanimous decisions in March of 2006, and, November of 2007, respectively.
Lacy was 21-0, with 17 knockouts, including four straight stoppages, when Calzaghe dethroned him as IBF beltholder, adding his crown to the WBO belt he already owned. Calzaghe dropped Lacy in the 12th round.
Kessler was 39-0 with 29 knockouts when Calzaghe dethroned him as WBC and WBA beltholder. That win over Kessler marked Calzaghe’s 21st and final defense of the WBO belt that he earned by unanimous decision over Chris Eubank, whom he floored in the first round of their bout in October of 1997.
In his next bout, Calzaghe became the first successful southpaw — out of 12 who had tried — to defeat Hopkins, rising from a first-round knockdown to win a disputed split-decision in April of 2008.
Calzaghe also rose from a first-round knockdown to rout Jones in a one-sided, unanimous decision.
PHIL LO GRECO, DEMETRIUS HOPKINS ON ADRIEN BRONER-ANTONIO DEMARCO CARD
Unbeaten Canadian welterweight Phil Lo Greco (24-0, 13 KOs) and Philadelphia junior middleweight Demetrius Hopkins (31-2-1, 11 KOs) will be on an undercard whose HBO-televised main event matches former WBO junior lightweight beltholder Adrien Broner and WBC lightweight beltholder Antonio DeMarco, with the co-feature being undefeated heavyweight prospect Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell against once-beaten Johnathon Banks at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
In featured undercard bouts scheduled for eight rounds, LoGreco, 28, of Toronto, will faced Daniel Sostre (11-7-1, 4 KOs), of Highland, N.Y., and Hopkins, 32 — the nephew of Bernard Hopkins — will meet Keenan Collins (14-7-3, 9 KOs), of York, Pa.
In other bouts, Philadephia’s 22-year-old junior middleweight prospect Julian Williams (9-0-1, 4 KO’s) will pursue his fourth straight victory against Puerto Rico’s Jonel Tapia (8-2-1, 5 KO’s), light heavyweight Thomas Williams Jr. (10-0, 7 KO’s), of Fort Washington, Md., will meet Philadelphia’s Taneal Goyco (4-4-1, 2 KO’s), New York junior welterweight Zachary Ochoa (2-0, 2 KO’s) will fight Arizona’s Michael Salcido (1-4), and lightweight Terron Grant (3-0, 2 KO’s), of White Plains, Md., takes on Mexico’s Abraham Esquivel (5-2, 3 KO’s).
MIGUEL COTTO’S COUSIN, ABNER COTTO, FIGHTS ON SATURDAY
Junior lightweight Abner Cotto (14-0, 6 KOs), the cousin of four-time, three-division title-winner, Miguel Cotto, will meet Mexico’s Alejandro Rodriguez (15-7, 8 KOs) in Saturday’s six-round co-main event of TeleFutura’s “Sólo Boxeo Tecate” from the Coliseo Roger Mendoza in Cotto’s native Caguas, Puerto Rico
In a clash of Puerto Rican junior lightweights, Cataño’s Edgardo Lopez (5-0, 3 KOs) meets Bayamon’s Orlando Vazquez (5-1, 1 KO), and unbeaten Puerto Rican junior lightweight prospect Carlos Ivan Velasquez (13-0, 11 KOs) will face Nicaragua’s Robert Bonilla (18-13-1, 11 KOs).
Photos by Ed Mulholland, Fightwireimages
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org