Yusaf Mack has just rejoined the elite light heavyweights, and at the perfect time. Within the past year, the light heavyweight division has really heated up. Stars such as Tavouris Cloud and Jean Pascal have emerged and the legend Bernard Hopkins has shown that he can still do much more than just “hang” at the top. Other greats included Chad Dawson, Zsolt Erdei and Beibut Shumenov. All of a sudden, this division has really exploded. Mack, 30(18)-3-2 just threw himself in the mix with a win over Otis Griffin, catapulting his way to the #1 spot in the IBF rankings.
The USBA 175 pound belt holder now is in line to challenge Tavouris Cloud for the IBF belt. Unfortunately, Cloud has the ability to take an interim bout which could leave Mack on the shelf for up to nine months. Mack, who has held several junior titles is excited for the opportunity to fight for the world championship.
In regards to his recent win over Otis Griffin, Mack had the following to say. “I feel good and wanted to prove I’m in shape. I would hurt him and walk away. I could’ve stopped him with more pressure. You saw me drop him with a hook.”
“I’m the top dog. I want to the world I can be IBF champ!” Mack recognizes the force he is up against. Cloud is strong, but has not knocked out any top contender. They have all taken him the distance.
His goal is to get the world title. “I want the W. I’m invited to the party, I’m leaving with the W!”
Before the Griffin fight, Mack was knocked out by Glen Johnson. Mack was not himself that night and it showed. He did not feel the way he felt against Griffin. The big difference was training camps. Mack is now back with his original trainer, Buster Custus in his home gym, in his home town of Philadelphia. “Buster is the only one who can push me to where I need to be at,” Mack said. After his win, Mack took one day off and was back in the gym. His gym is the James Shuler Memorial Gym in Philadelphia. This gym has been his home since he was 7 years old and began boxing. The atmosphere and people make you great, hungry, and hard working. There is great energy in the gym, unlike anywhere else, and that is seen in the recent wins of the many professionals that call Shulers home.
For the next nine months, Mack will hear stories about the powerful Cloud, and Mack’s underdog status. This is not the first time he has been the underdog, and regardless if it is nine months or one day, that status will not affect him. Mack was the underdog in his victories against Daniel Judah, Chris Henry, and Rich Grant. It does not matter to him. So from now until his shot, all he has to do is stay in shape, train hard, and get ready for his chance to be on the very top.
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