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Mack Defeats Henry

Chris Henry Yusaf MackBy Jason Kim: Light heavyweight Yusaf Mack (27-2-2, 16 KOs) pulled off a huge upset on Friday night, defeating top rated Chris Henry (23-2, 18 KOs) by a 12-round split decision at the Wicomico Civic Center, in Salisbury, Maryland. The final judges’ scores were 116-112, 115-112 and 113-115. Mack, 29, making only his 4th fight since moving up from the super middleweight division in April 2008, hurt Henry with big right hands in both the 6th, and again in the 12th rounds to squeak out a decision over Henry.

If Henry was under the impression that Mack wasn’t big enough to compete in the light heavyweight division, those ideas were dispelled almost immediately in the 1st round as Mack clubbed him continuously with huge right hands, one after another throughout the round.

Henry, who made something of a name for himself in losing in a 12-round war in Romania to future World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Adrian Diaconu in April 2008, had problems with the fight hand power of Mack. Used to fighting at slower, more deliberate pace, Henry seemed unprepared for the down pour of right hands from Mack and had no defense against any of them.

However, what Henry did have was good stamina and a good chin, which allowed to whether the storms and come back to win some of the later rounds to make the fight closer than it might normally have been. Mack appeared to tire by the 7th, losing a lot of power on his shots and seeing his work output dropping off significantly.

Henry then came on and was able to win most of the rounds in the 2nd half of the fight. Unfortunately, he took some heavy right hands from Mack in the 12th, and was once again stunned by one of Mack’s powerful right hands.

Henry outworked Mack in both the 2nd and 3rd rounds, landing at a higher clip than Mack. Henry was warned in both rounds for excessive holding by the referee. The holding appeared to stem from Mack’s high work rate, plus the need for Henry to slow down the avalanche of powerful right hands that Mack was dropping on him. Henry was warned for throwing a rabbit punch in the 4th.

Aside from that, he landed a good right hand in the round and fought hard enough to win the round. He had a bad habit of throwing his jabs when too close to Mack, which allowed Yusaf to land his big right hands. Henry might as well not thrown his jabs at all under those circumstances because it left him open to getting nailed with big shots when he would stand in the power alley of Mack. Additionally, Henry had a bad habit of leading with his head, as he would come charging in like a small bull. Luckily, Mack wasn’t cut by any head clashes.

In the 4th, Mack went right hand crazy, tagging Henry with big shots one after another. Henry was warned for low blows and the use of his head in the round. Mack found it easy to hit Henry, because he would come at him with his head lowered, often without a jab.

Mack continued fighting remarkably well in the 5th and 6th rounds, nailing the slower Henry with huge right hands. Henry had swelling under his right eye by the 5th, likely a product of the many right hands he had been hit with by Mack. In the 6th, Mack staggered Henry with a series of clubbing right hands. Mack threw one right hand after another, practically having a clinic on the use of right hands.

I could hardly blame him for not using his left, because Henry had basically no defense against the punch, so why bother moving away from success? Near the end of the round, Mack punched himself out, and was breathing hard from the energy he had expended in trying to knock Henry out. Though he came up short in trying to knock him out, Mack punished Henry badly in that round and hit him with enough hard shots to last an entire fight.

Henry came back in the 7th and 8th rounds, landing some heavy shots as Mack was now tired out and needing a rest. Mack did start off well in the 7th, but couldn’t keep it up for long as Henry took over the remainder of the round.

Mack got back on track in the 9th, once again going back to his hard right hands to win the round. Henry fought back hard but was no match for the right hands from Mack in the round.
In the 10th and 11th rounds, Henry came roaring back, firing heavy shots with both hands, backing up the tired Mack.

In the 12th, Mack summoned what was left of his energy and began firing hard right hands to the head of Henry, succeeding in staggering him at the start of the round. Mack soon tired out, but given his early work in the round, he appeared to win the final round.

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