Part of the challenge for Carl Froch when he faces Yusaf Mack on Saturday night at the Capital FM Arena in the United Kingdom is to not look ahead.
Froch badly wants to avenge his loss to Andre Ward in the finale of the Super-Six Super Middleweight tournament, but Mack is a formidable challenger. Froch is 29-2 with 21 KOs in his career, and he told Kevin Francis of Boxing Scene by way of the Daily Star that he's treating Mack like a "major threat."
He'll have to if he plans on being successful.
Mack is 31-4 with 17 KOs in his career, and he's in search of notoriety and the spoils that go along with that fame. He's doing nothing to fly under the radar in the hype that is leading up to his showdown with Froch.
He seems to have drawn the ire of the champion by referring to him as a "fake Joe Calzaghe," per The Independent. The comparisons to Calzaghe are nothing new for Froch, but the connotation in Mack's smack talk is obviously negative.
Froch has always come off to me as a bit surly and defiant, so it didn't surprise me to hear him respond by saying he would make Mack pay, per Ring Magazine for the Calzaghe reference. Mack says he realized he "got under Froch's skin," also per Ring Magazine, with the comment. He hopes that the slight throws the Cobra off his game, but there is a chance it could have motivated him.
Mack will already be battling in unfriendly territory, as the fight takes place in Froch's back yard. Take a look at the pre-fight press conference:
We'll see which fighter can back up their claims.
Here's how you can watch the bout, and some deeper analysis into both fighters.
When: Saturday, November 17, 3 p.m ET
Where: Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
TV: Intergrated PPV and Sky Sports UK
The Book on Froch
Tale of the Tape (via BoxRec.com)
Nickname: The Cobra
Birth Place: Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
Froch is a very good athlete with long arms and solid reflexes. He can fight well with high guards or with his hands low. He generally tailors his approach according to his level of respect for the opponent's power.
When his hands are low, he throws punches from all angles. He has good but not devastating power. Most of his stoppages come from cumulative punishment.
Froch's combination of athleticism and length makes him tough, but his heart is perhaps his best asset. Watch him rebound from an early knockdown to stop Jermain Taylor in 2009 and his most recent destruction of Lucian Bute in May.
Froch can get careless at times. He keeps his left hand too low, and it causes him to be vulnerable to overhand rights.
At times, his long arms are a hindrance. They can make his punches longer, and it limits his effectiveness on the inside. He needs to have distance and space to be effective. Here is an example of that in a classic eighth round against Glen Johnson.
Froch must be diligent, and he must use the jab and keep his distance. Persistence will be the key, as Mack tends to fold in the middle rounds.
If he keeps the fight at a comfortable range, he will stop Mack.
The Book on Mack
Tale of the Tape (via BoxRec.com)
Nickname: Mack Attack
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pa., United States
Mack has long arms as well, but he doesn't fight as well from distance. He likes to stay in close quarters and bang combinations to the body and head.
When he's had success, this is the gameplan he's used. He is coming down from the light heavyweight division, so he may have a bit of a strength advantage in the fight.
Mack's stamina and will are very questionable. He is the type of fighter that gives up when he's hotly contested and he doesn't possess the in-ring IQ to make adjustments.
If an opponent solves Mack at almost any point of the fight, they will stop him. Take a look at an example here in his fight against Glen Johnson. The 41-year-old Johnson stops Mack at the 3:45 mark.
Notice Mack has no qualms with the referees' stoppage, even though he isn't terribly hurt.
Who will win this fight?
Starting fast is paramount for Mack, as he lacks confidence. Don't buy in to the pre-fight talk; he isn't a complete believer in himself. It shows in his past performances.
If he can start fast—possibly even hurting Froch with his solid right hand—he has a chance to gain the momentum. He must hope Froch presses to stop him and is willing to fight his style of fight to keep from being out-boxed from distance.
Froch is going to stop Mack by the fifth or sixth round of this fight. If Mack were more of a warrior, he'd have a better shot. Froch's skill and length will be too much, and Mack will give in.
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