By Jake Donovan
Carl Froch's easy fight on paper was perhaps even easier in reality. The three-time super middleweight titlist had no problems whatsoever in knocking out Yusaf Mack in three rounds Saturday evening in Nottingham, England.
By his own admission, Froch (29-1, 22KO) took a few minutes to get going. Once he found his range, it was all downhill for Philadelphia's Mack, who suffered knockdowns in rounds one and three.
Froch sensed Mack was hurt in the third and never let his foot off the gas. A volley of punches had the American in trouble, with a ripping body shot sending him to the canvas for the full ten count.
The win is Froch's second straight, coming on the heels of a career-best 5th round knockout of Lucian Bute this past May.
Mack has a two-fight win streak snapped as he falls to 31-5-2 (17KO). All five career losses have come inside the distance.
Next up for Froch is a rematch with Bute, to take place in Montreal sometime in the spring. Should the Brit once again emerge victorious, hoped to be on the agenda is a shot at avenging past losses to Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward.
Tony Bellew is back in position for a future title shot after scoring a landslide decision win over Argentina’s Roberto Bolonti.
Scores were 120-106 (twice) and 119-110 for Bellew, who becomes the mandatory challenger (sort of) for Chad Dawson’s light heavyweight title.
The fight wasn’t entirely competitive but carried drama throughout thanks to a massive cut over Bellew’s right eye. The injury occurred in the third round, when Bolonti scored with a left hook to produce the gusher.
Bellew remained a big punch away from an injury TKO loss, but never lost focus or composure. Knockdowns in rounds one and three provided plenty of cushion early on, as Bellew wisely boxed in the remainder of the rounds, dictating the pace while minimizing any further damage to his cut.
Though overmatched, Bolonti offered a credible account of himself. The Argentinean came forward the entire night, but didn’t seem to have much of a game plan as far as his offense was concerned. Belle’'s ability to play defense made things a lot easier for his cutman, who did a masterful job in controlling the blood flow and rendering the wound a non-factor.
With the fight well in the bank, Bellew opened up in the later rounds. The aggressive surge nearly produced a stoppage as Bolonti was rocked and in trouble at the end of the 10th round. Bellew carried over the momentum into the 11th round, but went back to boxing for the duration once he realized Bolonti wasn’t going to wilt.
Bellew improves to 19-1 (12KO) with the win, his third straight. The lone loss of his career came last October, when Bellew came up just short in a title bid against Nathan Cleverly, though in an unforgettable war. He is now in position for another title shot, though when he receives that opportunity will be anybody’s guess.
Bolonti falls to 30-2 (19KO), suffering his first loss in over a six years. The 33-year old carried a 26-fight win streak heading in, but heads home to Argentina empty handed.
Callum Smith enjoyed a successful pro debut with a four-round points win over Dan Blackwell. The bout was scored 40-36 in favor of Smith (1-0, 0KO), who looked impressive in an entertaining affair.
Blackwell (2-15, 0KO) furthers his reputation as an iron-chinned journeyman, as he's yet to be stopped or dropped in 17 fights as a pro, all within the span of less than a year as the 19-year old remains active.
Hot bantamweight prospect Khalid Yafai (5-0, 4 KOs) continues to roll to a bright future with a quick stoppage of Antonio Nettuno (7-6, 1 KOs) in less than a minute of the first round.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox