Photo: Lawrence Lustig
IBF super middleweight champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch (29-2, 21 KOs) defends his title Saturday, November 17 against American challenger Yusaf Mack (31-4, 17 KOs),headlining the”True Brit” event, which will air in the United States live from Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, United Kingdom. Right here, take a look at this special interview with Froch as he took some time out from training to discuss the upcoming fight, his preparations and more.
Q. You’ve made many fans in the states over the past few years. How does it feel to have this fight airing live in the states?
Froch: “It’s always fantastic to be boxing on US TV. I’ve boxed in the States four times and I’ve always enjoyed myself there. My training camp was in Manhattan (New York City) before the Andre Ward fight. It was tough there because it was getting close to Christmas and it was insanely busy, but my morning run was always great, taking in the New York skyline as I was pounding the streets – incredible.
“I’ve always been well received by American boxing fans. They really know their stuff. I think that they appreciate that I am a good, honest fighter who never backs away from a challenge and always wants to fight the best. Too many fighters try to coast through their careers and don’t test themselves, so I’m glad I’ve had those fights in the States and they were great experiences. And there’s a good chance that there’s still a big fight for me over in America before I hang up the gloves.”
Q. You’ve had an unprecedented run against many of the world’s top fighters, starting with Pascal through your last against Bute. Can you remain as “up” fighting Mack who doesn’t have the same credentials as your last 8 opponents, particularly with a Bute rematch already slated?
Froch: “Absolutely. At this level, and as a World champion, there’s no second in a fight that you can let your guard down and you have to be at 100 percent. I have prepared as hard for this fight as I did for the previous eight world title fights, for my British title fights, for my Commonwealth title fights and for my debut back in 2002.
“If I come unstuck in this fight then everything I have achieved over the last few years will go to waste. People ask me about Lucian Bute, Andre Ward and Mikkel Kessler fights, so I answer their questions. It’s only natural for them to ask; they are fights people want to see, but believe me, I only have Yusaf Mack on my mind.”
Q. Does Mack remind you of any fighter you’ve already fought? What are his strengths?
Froch: “The best thing about this fight is that Yusaf is like nothing I’ve ever fought before and that’s what sport should be – a fresh challenge every time. He’s a natural light heavyweight who is dropping down, so he’s a puncher but also a nice boxer and a mover, too. You don’t get World title shots for no reason. He can more than handle himself in the ring and I know that I have to be completely focused on the fight as this guy is dangerous and he wants to shock the world of boxing by taking my belt, in my hometown.
“So, I’ve got to give this guy respect and take him very seriously because this is his world title fight, and his big opportunity to come over here and cause an upset. I know that he’s going to be training and running harder than ever for this. Whatever you’ve seen of him before, add 20 percent for this fight. I’ve got to be ready, and I will be.”
Q. He has been fighting as a light heavyweight. Is there any concern on your part about Mack possibly being the stronger man?
Froch: “I am stronger than him, no question. I don’t think there’s a super middleweight out there in better shape than me, and there are some super-fit guys in this division. But I can honestly say I feel in incredible shape, fit as I’ve ever been, and I am convinced that he won’t be able to match me for heart, punch power, desire and skill.
“He’ll be bringing that light heavyweight power down to super middle though, I know that. I have to be watchful of him every second that he’s in there. I have been sparring with Tony Bellew for this fight. He is a great sparring partner and a World champion in the making at light heavyweight. He has a tremendous dig on him and we have some great battles in sparring, so I don’t have any issues with whatever Yusaf Mack is going to bring to the table.”
Q. What type of fight do you expect this to be: war, chess match, etc.?
Froch: “I expect him to come at me with everything he’s got as he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He will have seen what I did to Lucian Bute. He knows that if I get into a rhythm, and get my shots off, it’s goodnight. So, he’ll be at me from the start, wanting to make an impression to get me on the back foot, and I’ll be doing the same. It’s going to be a ferocious pace and great to watch.”
Q. Any prediction?
Froch:“I’m not one for picking a round, but I think that it’s going to be a knockout night for me again in front of my home fans. Yusaf Mack has never been in an atmosphere like a sold-out Carl Froch show in Nottingham. The viewers are in for a real treat. When my fans get behind me, my punches are that much harder, and he’ll be in real trouble on the night.”