By Johnny Walker
Say what you will about WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck: his fights are seldom boring.
Huck (36-2-1, 25 KOs), more of a brawler than an artistic boxer type, is always game for a challenge, as former “regular” WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin found out when the man nicknamed “Captain Huck” (his surname is pronounced “hook”) moved up to heavyweight to fight him early in 2012.
The fight was a sometimes sloppy, but nevertheless thrilling seesaw affair that saw Povetkin gassing out and often fighting as if he were looking for spare change on the canvas, leaving Huck nowhere to punch but the back of the heavyweight’s skull. The second half of the fight saw Povetkin getting battered from pillar to post by the cruiserweight champion, but Povetkin somehow emerged as the winner anyway, leaving Huck embittered at the judges’ scoring.
Although Huck has often expressed a desire to move permanently to the heavyweight division, his promoters at Sauerland Event haven’t been so eager for that move to happen. Instead, Huck has found himself in tough cruiserweight battles with the likes of Britain’s Ola Afolabi, who Huck defeated last June by majority decision, giving him two wins and one draw in an often bruising trilogy.
Previous to that fight, Huck had taken on his fellow German cruiserweight Firat Arslan (33-6-2, 21 KOs), a southpaw, in another rock ’em, sock’em affair, one that left some boxing fans and Arslan himself upset as Huck won a unanimous decision by scores of 115-113 (twice) and 117-111.
While this writer can see that last wide score being a bone of contention, a re-viewing of the fight seems to show the champion, after receiving a bloody nose from an Arslan left uppercut in round two, slowly rounding into form, as both men fought in flurries and covered up defensively with high guards a la Arthur Abraham.
From round seven onwards, Huck seemed to be getting the better of a tiring Arslan, currently 43 years old to Huck’s relatively youthful 29. Arslan’s flurries were less frequent and less effective, and Huck repeatedly scored with some wicked left hooks to his opponent’s body, trying with some success to bring down that high guard in order to launch some multi-punch combinations to the head.
Still, as seem in his fights with Afolabi, Huck is always game to give someone who feels he got burned another chance, the chance that so far he hasn’t received from Alexander Povetkin.
Huck recently told Sky Sports regarding the rematch that Arslan “cannot have a better performance than in our first meeting,” and made reference to his opponent’s age as being a big factor.
“At 43 he is flagging,” Huck said of Arslan. “He [is] slow but steady. In comparison, I am getting closer to my prime.
“My stamina as well as my physical strength are reaching new heights. My explosiveness is unquestionable and I am also better when it comes to technique and tactics.”
Arslan, of course, disagrees, and sees this rematch as his chance to right a great wrong done to him.
“I am feeling like the world champion since my first fight against Marco, which I actually won,” he claims.
“Now it is time to collect my belt from him.”
Arslan will get his chance for revenge this Saturday at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart, Germany, in what promises to be another barn-burner of a cruiserweight title fight.