|Yusaf Mack: “Once Chris Henry tastes one of my punches, he'll run from me!”
Intreview by Bob Carroll, Doghouse Boxing (Feb 3, 2009) DoghouseBoxing.com
Philadelphia fighters have always been a different breed than all other fighters. The Philly fighter will keep coming at you, winning or losing and never back down. Being a native of the city of brotherly love myself, I was spoiled growing up and watching some of the greats come out of Philly and never back down to the world.
One such fighter is Philly native and NABA light heavyweight champion Yusaf Mack. Mack has been in against some really tough customers and though he has lost two fights, he never backed into a corner to retreat. This Friday night on ESPN 2, Yusaf Mack will be taking on another tough opponent in NABF light heavyweight champion Chris Henry.This fight could vault the winner into a world title match. Mack stated that he has been in training camp for six weeks and has done nothing but think about this fight that whole time. He is not taking this opportunity lightly. Yusaf Mack recently sat down to discuss this fight and his future with Doghouse Boxing.
Bob Carroll: Yusaf, the Philadelphia area is rich in boxing history. Being a native of Philly, do you feel any added pressure to perform when you step into the ring?
Yusaf Mack: No, it's not pressure, it is more like an energy for me.Being that I am from Philly, it really boosts me up and makes me fight harder, that's all.
BC: Two names seem to dominate the light heavyweight division in Antonio Tarver and Chad Dawson. This Friday night on ESPN 2's Friday Night Fights, two other fighters get the chance to claim their stake for a world title when you and Chris Henry meet in the ring. How did this fight come about?
YM: Well, I kept calling Tarver out and I really wanted a shot at Tarver. My manager called me and asked if I wanted to fight this guy Chris Henry? He said Henry has the NABF title and he's ranked number four by the WBC and I said let's do it.They called my people, we set it up, ESPN accepted it and now we're fighting.
BC: How much do you know of Chris Henry?
YM: I know he foughts in Texas a lot, most of his fights have been in the Texas area. I know he fought Adrian Diaconu, and that was really the only named fighter he has fought. That's it.
BC: Chris Henry has some pretty decent power. How do you train to combat the power you may face?
YM: Uh, I don't look at him as strong. He knocked out a couple of dudes that were nobodys. You know, he got most of his knockouts early in his career. I don't care about other peoples power because I pack a pretty powerful punch myself. I feel once he gets the taste of one of my punches, he's gonna run from me!
BC: Talking about your power, in one of your earlier fights, you did something no other fighter has been able to do, knocking down Librado Andrade. What kind of uplift did that give you in your career?
YM: It gave me a lot of courage because in all of the fights I have seen him in, the dudes were hitting him with a tree branch, and these guys could move houses, but not knock down Andrade. I hit him with one shot and dropped him. After the fight he actually said that I had him hurt and his wife even said "I knew he was hurt and I was scared!" I was like, man! Every fight he has now, they show me dropping him, the only fighter that has done that and I think I will be the only one that is ever going to do it.
BC: Being that this fight will be held in Salisbury Maryland, about a two hour drive from Philadelphia, do you feel you will have the home town advantage over Henry?
YM: Oh yeah, hometown anywhere on the east coast. He is coming to my hometown to get beat! That's it.
BC: Will you have a big following traveling down from Philly to see you fight?
YM: Yes, I have about 15 people coming down.
BC: Should you win on Friday who would you like to face next?
YM: I would love to go and fight Adrian Diaconu, just to let Chris Henry know that he's not like that. He was supposed to go there (Romania) and win!
BC: Would taking on the winner of Dawson-Tarver 2 appeal to you?
YM: That would be real nice. I would love to fight Chad Dawson. I consider Chad one of the best out there in the division, besides the older guys like (Joe) Calzaghe and them. But as far as fighters my age, I think Chad Dawson is the guy I should fight.
BC: This fight will be for your NABA and Chris Henry’s NABF light heavyweight titles. The NABA is not the first title you have won. In May of 2006 you defeated Shannon Miller for the USBA super middleweight title. What does winning and holding a title belt above your head do for a fighters psyche?
YM: Well I look at it like this, by me winning that title and the one I have now, it put me where I am at right now. It also provides me bragging rights in the ring. You know I was ranked number six by the WBA after I won the title, then I defended the title and for some reason I was moved down to number nine.
BC: That makes no sense since the NABA is affilated with the WBA.
BC: You started boxing as a super middleweight and now fight as a light heavyweight. Any future plans on moving up to the heavyweight division?
YM: No, but maybe later in my career when I get older, I may stop at cruiserweight, but then I am done. But then if the money is right, I may do heavyweight.
BC: Yusaf, now that you have this platform, is there anything you would like to tell your fans and the readers of Doghouse Boxing?
YM: I just want to tell them that Yusaf Mack is suppossed to be where he is at now. I lost down at super middleweight because of weight drainage, I was killing myself to make weight. Now I am a light heavyweight and right now I am at 177 on the nose. Right now I am good, I am right at weight where I suppossed to weigh. I am going to prove Friday that I right where I am suppossed to be at and that is light heavyweight.
I would like to thank Yusaf Mack for taking time out of his schedule to speak with Doghouse Boxing. For more on Yusaf and his upcoming fight, listen to Bob Carroll, Butch and "THE Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. every Wednesday night from 6-7pm EST on Fightin' Words Radio Show. To listen live via the internet, go to http://1490wwpr.com and look for the ˜listen here" tab. Don't forget to check out the Fightin' Words Radio Show website, fightinwordsonline.com
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