For fast-rising Mack, Maynard is next big risk


PALMER PARK -- Nearly a year ago, when North America Boxing Federation champion Andrew Maynard made the mistake taking Bobby Czyz lightly, not only did he get floored in the seventh round of their non-title match, but he also left with enough knots on his head that he could have donated some.

But the 1988 Olympic light-heavyweight gold medalist has made amends for that setback by pummeling his next four opponents.

Tuesday night at the Washington Convention Center, Maynard hopes to keep that string going in a scheduled 12-round title defense against Ed Mack scheduled to begin at approximately 10 p.m.

Mack, a three-year professional from Philadelphia, made his mark when he battered top-ranked Booker T. Word to score an eighth-round victory in May. Now Mack, who also works full time at the Veterans Administration in Philadelphia because "boxing doesn't pay all my bills," has become the talk of the division.

Mack (13-1-1, 8 KOs), who was majoring in risk management at Temple University before he decided to take time off to concentrate on his boxing career, hopes he can fight his way to bigger wealth the same way he fought when he was 5 or 6 years old.

"I lived in the projects, right in the heart of North Philadelphia," Mack said. "I had to fight to come out and play; I had to fight to go to school; I had to fight while I was in school and I had to fight to come back home. But my mother worked hard to move us out of that area."

Mack could position himself for lucrative fights with a victory over Maynard -- something he also hopes will allow him to try a new hairstyle.

He has a high-top fade with the words "Mack Attack" styled in the back of his head now, but his barber in Philadelphia wants to give him a newer style.

"He wants to put somebody getting knocked out," Mack said Thursday at a news conference at the Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing Center, "but I said, maybe next time."

Possibly a wise move until after he fights Maynard, who predicted that the fight wouldn't go the distance.

"He's got to come to knock me out," said Maynard (16-1, 13 KOs). "When they come to me, I'm ready because I can rumble. He's going to have an early night. I'll send him home with the quickness."

Mack said he doesn't mind getting involved in a slugfest, though he knows what punishment he can or cannot endure.

"Sometimes you have to buckle down and come [in the ring] and give it all that you've got," he said. "But I'm going to come out and fight a smart fight because he's an incredible opponent."

Maynard didn't seem to think so highly of Czyz last June 24 when Czyz puffed him up on national television.

Remembering that defeat, Maynard becomes more disappointed and angry with himself for failing in a match that could have landed him a world-title opportunity. J.D. Brown of Premier Promotions, who is promoting this fight, said that he's working on getting Maynard light-heavyweight title shots at either WBC champion Dennis Andries, IBF champion Prince Charles Williams recently crowned WBA champ Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns.

"I know all the tricks of the trade now and I'm always going to be ready," said Maynard. "I haven't taken any of my fights lightly, except the Czyz fight. I just figured that with all the boxing that I did, I could outbox him. But he started doing those tricks to slow me down, the same tricks that my trainers had told me about, and I just saw it happening to me. He took me out of my game plan, and I was just shocked. But there aren't going to be any more changes in my game plan."

Fight facts

Where: Washington Convention Center

When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

TV: USA Cable, 9 p.m.

Main event: NABF light-heavyweight champion Andrew Maynard (16-1, 13 KOs) vs. Ed Mack (13-1-1, 8 KOs), 12 rounds. Fight starts at approximately 10 p.m.

Other fights: USBA lightweight champion Fred Pendleton (29-117-3, 19 KOs) vs. Victor Mobley (12-4-1, 2 KOs, 10 rounds; Michael Ward (13-2, 10 KOs) vs. Lemark Davis (10-5, 4 KOs), welterweights, 8 rounds; Ed Podlak (11-1, 6 KOs) vs. Tony Pressely (3-5), junior welterweights, 6 rounds; Anthony Suggs (6-2, 6 KOs) vs. Luke Cooper (5-1, 5 KOs), junior welterweights, 6 rounds; Gerard Jones (6-0, 4 KOs) vs. Butch Kelly (6-2, 4 KOs), cruiserweights, 6 rounds; Mpush Mpule (3-0-1) vs. Irwin Hatch (1-1), junior middleweights, 4 rounds.

Tickets: $20, $50. Ringside tables (10 seats) available for $750 at $1,000.

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