By Jake Donovan
Perhaps one day, boxing outlets in the United States will extend the proper attention to the cruiserweight division. For now, the popularity enjoyed on a global scale will have to do.
Further proof of the division’s untapped potential comes in tonight’s cruiserweight title fight rematch between Marco Huck and Firat Arslan, which takes place in Stuttgart, Germany. Huck attempts the 12th defense of the belt he won more than four years ago, while Arslan is given one last chance at a second championship tour.
More than 10,000 fans are expected in attendance for what has become the nation’s biggest in-ring Civil War in nearly two decades, with the anticipation further fueled by the fight’s four-month postponement from last September. The bout will air live in over 60 countries, including the United States, with ESPN3.com streaming the event live (5:00PM ET).
Their first fight, which took place in Nov. ’12, resulted in similar manner to several other Huck title defenses – a disputed decision which saw the defending champion retain his belt. Huck (36-2-1, 25KO) barely fended off a throwback performance from Arslan, 42 at the time and more than two years removed from his own title reign.
Many took umbrage with the decision, creating demand for a sequel. The two were scheduled to throw down last fall, only for Huck to suffer an untimely injury, thus forcing the postponement.
Each fighter has posted a win since their first meet. Huck scored a close but clear points win over Ola Afolabi last June to go 2-0-1 in their three fight series, while Arslan registered a 10-round points win last April in what was supposed to serve as a stay-busy fight. However, the four-month delay with tonight’s fight means the former champ has now been out of the ring for nine months, having since celebrated his 43rd birthday.
Does the wily veteran challenger have one more great performance left in him, or will an incumbent champion once again find a way to maintain his standing as a leader in one the sport’s most underappreciated divisions?
Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes tonight’s cruiserweight action will play out.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS – MARCO HUCK vs. FIRAT ARSLAN
“It seems Huck lands in the middle of a debatable decision no matter the occasion or opponent. I like the younger, defending titlist to score a clear-cut win this time around, with Arslan hearing the final bell and perhaps even finishing strong, but too far behind to make a difference on the scorecards.”
- Jake Donovan (Huck by decision)
“Arslan is a slow starter and have problems when forced to retreat. Age -42- may also play a part. If Huck stays busy and force the action he should be able to win. However, as seen the first time they fought Arslan is tough as nails and if Marco spends too much time on the ropes he´s in trouble. Huck on a close points win.”
- Per-Ake Perrson (Huck by decision)
“Arslan fought his last, best fight in their first encounter. At his age, it's not happening again.”
- Cliff Rold (Huck by knockout)
“You cannot fool Father Time all the time. Arslan is 43 and counting, Huck at 29 is in his physical prime. It feels as if their first fight was Firat's swan song, and it's time for him to depart. Huck, oppositely, looks better in rematches. Given all that and their frenetic styles, I feel it'll be a rugged war. A fresher and a younger fighter will emerge a winner in this war of attrition.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Huck TKO10)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBoxTags: Marco Huck , Firat Arslan , Huck-Arslan , Huck vs Arslan