In a few hours, popular and charismatic IBF Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch (29-2, 21 KO) defends his title against rugged challenger Yusaf Mack (31-4-2, 17 KO).
Froch vs Mack Time:
3pm EST, 8pm London *
Broadcast: InDemand, Intergrated PPV (U.S.) and Sky Sports (UK)
* Fight time listed above is for the Froch vs Mack fight card. The two super middleweights will likely enter the ring between 4:15 and 5:15pm EST (or 9:15pm and 10:15pm London)
Tonight marks the first time Carl Froch has fought since his sizzling 5 round destruction of Lucian Bute in May.
"The Bute win will go down as one of the greatest nights of my life and I plan on doing something special against Mack on November 17. He's (Yusaf Mack) got nothing to lose coming here to face me and I know he'll put it all on the line to take the title from me so I'll be fully prepared for everything he's got and I'll be hitting him with all my best," stated Froch.
But have the prospects for a rematch with Bute, which will happen in Aptil or May barring an upset, side-tracked the IBF Champion and is he overlooking his battled-tested foe?
If Froch is looking past Mack, he talks a good game.
"I've trained just as hard for this fight as I did for the Bute fight. The training, the physical side of it: the runs, the groundwork and the sparring, have been just as hard as last time."
"You've got to be in tip-top shape for every single fight, if I turned up 50-percent fit for Mack then I'm probably going to get beat. It's as simple as that."
Who is Yusaf Mack?
The 32 year old Mack was born in Philadelphia and started his career as a super middleweight then briefly bolted to light heavyweight only to return to super middleweight. He then went back to light heavyweight in 2007 and has campaigned there ever since.
As a result, tonight's bout will be Mack's first at super middleweight in 5 years.
When he last fought in July against Sabou Ballogou, a 37-year-old super-middle who was 8-5, Mack pounded out a 6 round decision.
Impressive? Not at all.
However, he defeated the formidable Omar Sheika in April as the Philadelphian won at least 11 of the 12 rounds contested with right hands and uppercuts. Mack even knocked down Sheika with overhand rights as the final bell sounded.
At 32, Mack is a veteran of 12 years having turned pro in 2000. He was 22-0-2 before getting stopped in 6 rounds by Alejandro Berrio in 2006. Since then, Mack is 9-3.
In 2007, he floored Librado Andrade in the first round but was knocked down three times himself in the seventh, forcing a subsequent stoppage. Mack was also stopped inside the distance by aging Road Warrior Glen Johnson and current IBF Champion Tavoris Cloud in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
His biggest accomplishment to date is a split decision upset win over then rising star Chris Henry (then 21-0) in February 2009 on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
Although he's been able surprise young upstars and quality B level opposition, he's been exposed every time he stepped up in class and faced a legitimate thoroughbred. Tonight he gets a grand opportunity.
Even is Yusaf loses, his stock will rise if he can give Froch problems and make it a real dogfight. Mack is a heavy underdog so if he exceeds expectations, it will secure him more bouts against 'name' opponents the same way Dereck Chisora's loss to Robert Helenius paved the way to bigger bouts for the former.
Its hard to see Carl Froch losing this bout as he'll enjoy nearly every conceivable advantage. The Brit is more technically proficient, seemingly quicker, punches harder, has faced and defeated better opponents and will be fighting in front of what will likely be some very boisterous fans at Capital FM Arena, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom.
He's also facing a fella who is fighting 8 lbs below his normal fighting weight.
Simply put, Froch vs Mack is a tune-up for the Brit.
But there are questions to be answered. How good will Carl Froch look and will he be able to dominate Mack and get the knockout? Will Carl Froch prove David Haye's assertion that Froch is indeed out of Mack's league?
If Carl Froch pitches a 12 round shutout, he likely won't not earn many accolades from fans and the media unless the bout is a one-sided whoopin' a la Klitschko vs Wach last weekend. Moreover, a lackluster win over Mack won't help Carl's chances should he seek a rematch with ultimate super middleweight champion and top 5 pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward late next year provided the Brit defeats Bute again.
Ward defeated Froch in December in a competitive, hard-fought but unaesthetically-pleasing dust-up.
If Froch allows Mack to make this bout competitive and the fight is devoid of any meaningful highlights, the public won't be clamoring for Ward vs Froch II anytime soon - even if Carl defeats Bute again.
He's already been there and done that.
Mack has been KO'd in all 4 of his losses and, since Carl Froch has good power and is the best fighter Mack will have faced, many are expecting Froch vs Mack to be settled inside the distance.
Prediction: Mack will show he came to fight but Froch will be too much for his American foe and KO him in impressive fashion. Carl Froch KO 7 Yusaf Mack
Froch vs Mack Undercard Results - Updated Nov 17, 2012: 5:40pm EST/ 10:40pm London
- Scotty Cardle (8-0, 2 KOs) outscored late sub Miguel Aguilar (10-5, 5 KOs) over eight rounds. Scored 80-70. Two points deducted from Aguilar.
- 2008 British Olympian bantamweight Khalid Yafai (5-0, 4 KOs) dispensed of Pro Antonio Nettuno (7-6, 1 KO) in only 52 seconds.
- Tony Bellew (19-1, 12 KOs) cruised to a twelve round unanimous decision over Roberto Bolonti (30-2, 19 KOs), winning the vacant WBC silver belt. Bellew scored a knockdowns in Rounds 1 and 3. Scores were 120-106, 119-107, 120-106.
- IBF Super Middleweight Championship
Carl Froch (29-2, 21 KO) vs Yusaf Mack (31-4-2, 17 KO)
Mack exhibits explosiveness and grit
Froch vs Mack Video is below