- Carl Froch v Yusaf Mack
Dominant Froch puts Mack on deck with ease
Carl Froch utterly outclassed a woefully over-matched Yusaf Mack to easily defend his IBF super-middleweight world title in Nottingham on Saturday.
The 35-year-old, returning to the ring after his career-revitalising victory against Lucien Bute at the same venue in May, got the win that was expected but in even easier fashion than even the most optimistic pundits had predicted - knocking the American down in the first round before finally finishing him off with a thunderous body shot with less than a minute left in the third.
It was a clinical blow to the chest that left Mack prostrate on the floor, with a couple of follow-up punches to the head nothing more than emphasis as Mack failed to get back up before the ten count.
"Yusaf Mack tonight did not really have much of a chance tonight. I'm a level above," Froch said afterwards. "I was a bit cautious early on, and then I found my range and could see what was coming back. I did what I had to do."
'The Cobra' will now turn his attention back to more lucrative - and presumably competitive - fights, with a rematch against Bute most likely before he will search out rematches against Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward, the only two men ever to have beaten the three-time world champion.
Mack never looked like adding his name to that very short list, going down to the canvas after his first first taste of Froch's prodigious power after the opening bell sounded. To his credit he regained his composure and then raised his defences to keep going, surviving the second three minutes and even landing an encouraging shot on Froch - perhaps checking his progress fractionally.
But the third round saw everything come crashing down, as a flush body shot left Mack gasping for air - unable to clamber back up as the referee ended the contest.
"He's taken some weight off him," Froch noted of Mack, who had not fought at the weight in five years, "and to be fair those who take weight off, those body shots hurt even more."
After the bout, Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn suggested that Bute will be next up for the veteran fighter - but is hopeful Mack will not be the last opponent he faces on home turf in his career.
"We willing to go over there and happy to go over there," Hearn said of the contractually-obligated second Bute fight, which is expected to take place in Canada.
Hearn added: "I don't think there is one super-middleweight - including Andre Ward - who can beat him in Nottingham. We want the big fighters next year, preferrably in Nottingham.
"2013 is the year of the rematch for Carl Froch."
Prior to Froch's appearance, Tony Bellew overcame a nasty cut above his right eye to defeat Argentina's Roberto Bolonti on points.
When the Liverpool fighter knocked down his opponent in the opening round it looked like an easy knockout was on the cards, but Bolonti opened up a huge gash over Bellew's eye in the third round that threw everything in doubt.
But Bellew's cuts man, Mick Williamson, kept his fighter in condition to fight, and the light-heavyweight made sure to protect his injury over the remainder of the match as he picked up a hugely one-sided unanimous points verdict.
"I've got the best cut man in the game, and I knew if you don't panic you'll be fine," Bellew said afterwards. "I came through a huge crisis tonight.
"He's more difficult than he looks, he's got a great chin - but I came through it."