by Kirk Jackson
Carl Froch (29-2) may be primed for a big upset. Coming off the heels of perhaps the biggest win in his career over Lucian Bute a couple months back, Froch defends his newly acquired IBF Super Middleweight crown against a sturdy challenger this weekend in his hometown of Nottingham, England.
What looks like a normal title defense for Froch–maybe regarded as even an easy tune-up in preparation for his rematch against Bute, scheduled to take place sometime next year–should be looked as anything but easy.
Philadelphia’s Yusaf Mack (31-4-2) may be unknown to the casual fan, but people within the realm of boxing can tell you he has a good chance for an upset.
First off, Mack knows how to box. He can fight at angles, has pretty good hand speed and sharp defense which includes good upper body movement and knowing how to clinch and evading danger with his feet.
Look at the fighters who gave Froch problems: Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward. The common traits they all share is their superior hand speed and athleticism compared to Froch. And all but Taylor has a pretty good defensive foundation, as does Mack.
We all know of Froch’s accomplishments in recent years and the impressive resume he has amassed. The Brit has won multiple world titles, fighting the likes of Jean Pascal, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson, Mikkel Kessler, along with the aforementioned Bute, Ward, Taylor and Dirrell.
Mack has pretty good seasoning as well. A former sparring partner of Bernard Hopkins, Mack has picked up many secrets of the trade and is an experienced veteran having gone up against the likes of Tavoris Cloud, Andrade Librado, Daniel Judah and Glen Johnson.
Mack was actually beating Cloud until his stamina issues kicked in and he was overwhelmed by Cloud’s pressure and power. Froch may have to emulate Cloud’s tactics if he wants to emerge the winner.
Another thing to take note of: Mack may actually be the bigger man, standing 6’1 and having fought at light heavyweight for a good portion of his career. Mack had to strip down naked to make weight for this fight against Froch.
For all the skills Mack does possess, an iron chin isn’t one of them. He has been stopped four times, and his questionable chin and endurance are things Froch should test in their fight.
Nonetheless, even if Mack doesn’t score the upset, the 15-1 underdog will at least give Froch a tough fight.