Venomous Cobra to Strike Early
IBF super-middleweight champion Carl Froch gets a rare 'gimme' this weekend when he defends his crown against Yusaf Mack.
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There is not an active world champion in the sport who has had harder back-to-back fights than Froch, the granite-chinned 35-year-old from Nottingham.
Since beating Jean Pascal for the WBC super-middleweight title in 2008 the 29-2 (21) has been in with top names such as Jermain Taylor, Mikkel Kessler, Andre Dirrell, Glen Johnson, Arthur Abraham and Andre Ward.
Last time out he produced arguably the best display of his career as he blasted out Lucian Bute in five, astonishing sessions.
After that performance you can't help but feel there was always going to be something of an 'After the Lord's Mayor's Show' feel to this weekend's bout. Give Mack his due, however. He has been getting the fight good publicity by labelling Froch a poor man's Joe Calzaghe in the media.
"He wants to be Calzaghe," said Mack. "He wants to fight like him and do all the moves like him but there is only one Calzaghe."
Froch, clearly riled by the comments, fired back at a recent media gathering: "He had an opportunity to say it to my face, not go 200 miles down the road and say it behind my back."
'The Cobra' also claimed that Mack is in for a "terrible, terrible shock" this weekend, which suggests that he might go after the American early.
Mack has a sturdy 31-4-2 (17) record but every time he has lost it has been via stoppage and, crucially, he has not made the 168lb super-middleweight limit since 2007. Mack claims this will make him the bigger man on the night but Froch is a beast at super-middle and if his opponent is weight-drained then I don't see him lasting the course.
The layers seem to agree, with a Froch win inside schedule priced up no bigger than 2/9.
The champion is holding all the aces here. This will be his ninth world-title fight. He is boxing on home soil against an opponent who has been stopped every time he has stepped up in class.
Logic suggests a Froch win and the bet for me is backing Carl to win at any point inside the first four rounds.
He went after Bute early in their fight and, roared on by a large and vociferous hometown crowd, I can see him blitzing a brave but out-gunned Mack inside 12 minutes without much fuss.