|Yusaf Mack Get’s Crack at IBF Champ Tavoris Cloud Saturday
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (June 22, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Philadelphia’s Yusaf Mack, 29-3-2
(17), after 11 years of boxing will get his first shot at a world
title when he meets IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud,
22-0 (18), on Saturday at The Family Arena, in St. Louis, MO.
Mack turned professional in November of
2000 and was 16-0-1 when he drew with fellow Philadelphian Randy
Griffin, 17-1, in May of 2004. Griffin would go onto fight to
another draw in 2007 with WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm. The
following year he would lose to Sturm. He has only had one losing
fight since then but is scheduled to return to the ring in
Philadelphia the end of September.
Two fights after Mack’s draw with
Griffin he won the vacant USBA super middleweight title stopping
Shannon Miller, in Mack’s first main event. In 2006 Mack would
lose for the first time in 25 fights in a IBF super middleweight
eliminator for the #2 spot to Alejandro Berrio, 24-4, in Pompano, FL.
Mack lost his USBA title due to not
defending it. In October of 2008 he tried regaining it only to lose
to Librado Andrade, 25-1, in Las Vegas. Two fights later, Mack won
the vacant NABA light heavyweight title defeating Daniel Judah,
22-2-3, in June of 2008. He would add the NABF title defeating Chris
Henry, 23-1, in Salisbury, MD, by split decision in February of 2009.
In February of 2010 Mack lost to former
champion, Glen Johnson, 49-13-2, in an IBF light heavyweight title
eliminator. It would be his only bout in 2010. Mack’s inactivity
has hurt him in his pursuit of a championship match. It was 9 months
of inactivity prior to the Johnson match.
It would be 13 months before Mack would
fight again in winning the IBF title eliminator over Otis Griffin,
23-6-2, in Woodland Hills, CA, by split decision. Griffin was the
winner of Oscar DeLaHoya’s “The Next Great Champ” tournament.
This win earned Mack the No. 1 spot in the IBF ratings and a shot at
Cloud won the vacant title defeating
the UK’s Clinton Woods, 42-4-1, by decision in 2009. He had two
defenses in 2010, over Glen Johnson, and Fulgencio Zuniga, 24-4-1.
Cloud’s last three fights have been by decision.
Mack has been in training camp at the
Fernwood Resort, in the PA Pocono Mountains. He had excellent
sparring partners like Dhafir Smith (recently beat Jeff Lacy). ”I
feel that if he comes with the Dhafir jab he’ll beat him. He’s a
good fighter,” said Smith. Another was Garrett Wilson (USBA
Cruiser champ). “His footwork is phenomenal. I can’t wait until
they say and the NEW IBF champion is Yusaf Mack,” said Wilson. On
Monday back at Shulers Gym in West Philadelphia Mack was in the ring
with Prince Badi Ajamu (former NBA champion). “We had a beautiful
camp. I was there for 3 weeks. Yusaf is in great shape and stood up
to the pressure,” said Ajamu.
Former IBF light middleweight champion
Rob “Bam Bam” Hines is the assistant trainer. “We had a good
camp for 4 weeks and Yusaf is in great shape,” said Hines. Percy
“Buster” Custus is head trainer and manager for Mack. He is also
owner of the James Shuler Memorial Gym, in West Philadelphia. This
is the home gym for IBF Cruiserweight champion Steve “USS”
Cunningham, and after Saturday, possibly the home of another world
champion in Mack. The Gym was named in memory of former amateur
champion and title challenger James Shuler. “He has sparred 12
rounds per day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He really looks
good,” said Custus. Handling the cuts will be Willie Folk and
Mack’s promoter is Steve Bash of Bash Boxing.
“I’m here to win the title. I’ve
had 3 different styles in my sparring partners. I’ve watched 3 of
his fights on tape and know what I have to do. After I beat Otis
Griffin in my last fight I was right back into the gym the next day,”
John DiSanto of www.phillyboxinghistory.com was snapping pictures of Mack and with Ajamu in the ring. Mack looks
very confident. “I will be in the co-feature on HBO,” said Mack.
Philadelphia now has 3 world champions in Cunningham and once again
Bernard Hopkins the new WBC light heavyweight champion. I can see it
now “IBF champion Yusaf Mack vs WBC champion Bernard Hopkins for
the light heavyweight championship!” Or better yet, with the
former world champion Harold Johnson at ringside, “for the
Philadelphia light heavyweight championship”!
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