Tavoris Cloud improved to 23-0 (19 KO) with an eighth round stoppage of a game and skilled Yusaf Mack (29-4-2, 17 KO), who simply couldn't survive the fight for the fourth time in his career. It was pretty typical Mack, as he hung in well with a higher-ranked fighter, but in the end his own stamina betrayed him.
At the time of stoppage, scores were 68-65 and 67-66 for Cloud and 67-66 for Mack.
Cloud wasn't particularly inspiring or impressive in this fight, and Mack at times made him look like an undercooked prospect instead of a top contender. But it was Cloud's consistent pressure that wore down Mack, as we've seen in the past, and Mack just couldn't hold up past the middle rounds. This is the fourth time he's been stopped against a group of fairly similar fighters: pressure-fighting Cloud, Glen Johnson and Librado Andrade, and power puncher Alejandro Berrio.
Cloud may well be able to use this fight to springboard into a bigger fight this year, and there have been preliminary talks about matching Cloud with former lineal light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal. My early feeling is that Cloud is tailor-made for the athletic, quick Pascal, but it's a very interesting fight. The more we see Cloud, the more we learn about him -- he has flaws, but he also has strengths. He's tough, has some power (not as good as his record, probably), and comes to fight. He'll trade blows and can be very entertaining. That's enough to get good fights, and he retained his alphabet trinket with tonight's win, making him an attractive option for many contenders who would love a title shot.
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