By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
CARL Froch has warned that the first defence of his IBF super-middleweight crown will not be the foregone conclusion his fans expect.
Froch’s clash with Yusaf Mack in Nottingham on November 17 looks like a gentle return to action.
American Mack, ranked No.6 by the IBF, will be the first opponent for Froch since he destroyed unbeaten champ Lucian Bute in five rounds in Nottingham in May.
However, the Brit, 35, said: “Yusaf’s a very big, strong guy. He’s actually a light-heavyweight, so he’s going to be big and strong and provide a different kind of test for me.
“I know it’s not going to be easy against anybody ranked in the top 10.
“But you have to remember Yusaf Mack is fighting Carl Froch, so he’s going to turn up 25 percent better than when he fights anybody else.
“He’s got to come to my backyard, but it is his world title fight. He has to make sure he’s in the best possible shape and turn up and give a career-best performance.
“He’s fighting for his life, so I have to make sure I prepare meticulously to get myself in the same shape I was when I challenged Lucian Bute for the world title.”
But Mack, 32, should be a much easier test than the Bute fight. Froch added: “That win will go down as one of the greatest nights of my life and I plan on doing something special against Mack.”
Philadelphian Mack has won 31, lost four and drawn two of his 37 fights, with 17 of his victories coming via KO.
All four of his defeats were stoppages but he has only lost to decent opposition, with an unsuccessful challenge for Tavoris Cloud’s IBF light-heavyweight title last June his most recent loss.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “I’m delighted to have secured a home defence for Carl. No-one deserves it more.
“He will be fully focused on the fight with Mack, a much bigger man who will be coming to rip that world title from his grasp.”
Froch, who has 29 wins – including 21 knockouts – and two defeats from 31 fights, will then have a contracted rematch with Bute next March, in the Canadian’s Montreal stronghold, and could move up to light-heavyweight for it.
Froch said: “You never know, we might meet at light-heavyweight, even though I can’t see myself stepping up to light-heavyweight in the near future.
“That’s because I do super-middleweight so easily.
“But if he talks about doing it at a catch-weight, then you never know. That fight may be made a bit higher. I’m ready for him, whatever he brings.”