Froch wins in three over Mack: who’s next?
By Gareth Rees: Carl Froch (30-2) defended his IBF Super-Middleweight title against Yusaf Mack (31-5) in supreme style by stopping Mack in three rounds. Mack went down in the first round following a right by Froch hitting Mack near the top of the head followed by a left uppercut, Froch then put Mack down again for the last time in the third following a sickening body shot.
Throughout the fight Froch stuck behind his jab looking for opportunities to attack Mack. After sending Mack down in the first, Froch kept to the game plan he and coach Rob McCracken had set, using his jab throughout the second round and ended the round with a flurry of punches that seemed to hurt Mack.
The third round followed a similar pattern before Froch landed a combination of punches to both the head and body of Mack with a left hook to the body really hurting Mack. After a couple more punches Mack went down in obvious distress and never got up, commentator Jim Watt believed Mack may have a broken rib as the paramedics came into the ring.
What everyone at ringside and even Froch and his promoter Eddie Hearn acknowledged was the improvement in Froch’s game. It’s easy to remember the Froch that faced Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell that had no defence and was very crude, but now Froch uses his boxing skills and is much more patient not just relying on his chin. Despite Froch being 35, he said that he has never felt better, saying he’s breaking personal records in his training and he is renowned for how well physically he keeps himself.
Both Froch and Hearn said they doubt after seeing that performance that Bute would want the contracted rematch. Hearn went further saying “no super-middleweight in the world and that includes Ward could beat Froch in Nottingham”. I agree with what Froch and Hearn said about Bute, as Bute did not look impressive against a fighter not in the same class as Mack who had challenged Tavoris Cloud for the IBF Light-Heavyweight title last year. However, although I admire and am not surprised at Hearn’s confidence in his fighter, I think Froch would do better than last time but would again lose a decision in a rematch with Andre Ward.
It will be interesting to see how Mikkel Kessler performs against Brian Magee in a few weeks, with Froch seeming doubtful that Kessler would want a rematch and Kessler has definitely seemed to be on the slide since facing Froch back in 2010. If Bute and Kessler both avoid a rematch with Froch, other than Ward it’s tough to see who Froch will think is a big enough name to face next. Adonis Stevenson is the mandatory challenger for Froch’s IBF belt but Stevenson isn’t well known enough to tempt Froch who plans on retiring within the next 2 years. Other possibilities could include a few options at Light-Heavyweight which would add to Froch’s legacy, guys like Jean Pascal who was on the losing end of a fight of the year candidate against Froch in 2008 and returns to action in December; others are the title holders at Light-Heavyweight such as Nathan Cleverly and Chad Dawson, or the legend that is Bernard Hopkins.