By Jake Donovan
Mere days after coming within inches (and perhaps more adequate ringside officiating) of claiming a piece of the heavyweight crown, Marco Huck has an important decision to make.
The defending cruiserweight titlist tested the heavyweight waters to take on unbeaten Alexander Povetkin, who was making the second defense of his paper belt in a bout aired live on EPIX. Plenty of sidebars came with the fight, but few included the possibility of Huck pulling off a major upset.
It certainly wasn’t an outcome Povetkin was counting on, yet many considered the Russian fortunate to have escaped Germany with a majority decision to retain his crown. More than a few fans and media alike thought Huck did enough to become just the third cruiserweight champ in boxing history – following Evander Holyfield and David Haye - to capture a heavyweight belt.
Now comes the hard part, further contending with the politics of the sport as Huck has to decide if his heavyweight rendezvous was a one-time affair or if he enjoyed not having to shrink down to the 200 lb. limit for a change and will remain put.
“Marco Huck’s representatives have informed me that he has yet to decide if he will stay a Jr. Heavyweight or choose the Heavyweight division, but that his decision is imminent during the upcoming week,” informed Francisco Valcarcel, president of the WBO, the sanctioning body whose cruiserweight belt Huck owns.
The reason for the haste has everything to do with what takes place this weekend. Valcarcel is planning a trip to Deutschland, where two of his belts will be at stake in separate fights at the ESPIRT Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Headlining the sold out show is lineal heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko, who defends the true heavyweight crown along with a slew of alphabet belts – including the WBO’s brand – against former cruiserweight champ Jean-Marc Mormeck.
More germane to Huck’s dilemma is what takes place on the undercard. Ola Afolabi is all but guaranteed a second crack at the crown. The talented Brit faces former titlist Valery Brudov in an interim title fight, though more importantly at stake is a mandatory shot at Huck.
“If Marco Huck decides to stay in the Jr. Heavyweight division, he will face the winner of the Afolabi –Brudov bout within 120 days of said bout. If he decides to stay in the Heavyweight Division, the winner of the Afolabi-Brudov bout will automatically become the WBO Jr. Heavyweight Champion.”
Afolabi (18-2, 8KO) tried and failed in a Dec. ’09 bid against Huck, dropping a close decision in a fight that was within his grasp but managed to slip away in the second half of the contest. He has since won four straight heading into this weekend’s interim title fight.
The bout was Huck’s first title defense of the belt he won in Aug. ’09. Overall he has made eight successful defenses. The loss to Povetkin was just the second of his career, both coming in title fights and snapping a five-year, 15-fight win streak since suffering a heartbreaking 12th round knockout loss in a cruiserweight title challenge against Steve Cunningham in Dec. ’06.
E-mails placed to Huck and his team seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]