By Cliff Rold
On August 14th, the longest reigning of the Cruiserweight titlists will make his US debut on the undercard of the Steve Cunningham-Antonio Tarver Heavyweight clash. If he wins, 30-year old Marco Huck (38-2-1, 26 KO) will break the overall division record for consecutive title defenses currently shared with Johnny Nelson of the U.K.
Huck’s only loss in the division came in an excellent 2007 scrap with Cunningham that saw the American come from behind to stop then undefeated Huck in the final round. His only other loss came via controversial decision to Alexander Povetkin in a failed 2012 shot at the WBA’s non-super version of their belt. It will Huck’s third career fight outside Germany and global demand could soon be on the upswing.
If Huck’s defense against undefeated Pole Krzysztof Glowacki (24-0, 15 KO) is in line with many of Huck’s outings, he has chance to cross borders and build fans quickly. Many fans bemoan the inconsistent level of action in the Heavyweight division. Cruiserweight has continued to provide thrills overseas after a burst of stateside interest in the 2000s that seemed to end with the rise in weight of Tomasz Adamek and David Haye.
He’s a fighter that hardcore fans outside the European market have enjoyed following for years. Given his age, relative youth, and style, Huck might be just the guy to reignite US interest.
Or he might, just maybe, be a sort of dark horse in the wings to compete for any void that could eventually be lefty behind by Wladimir Klitschko.
Should he get to fourteen defenses, the only thing that would really make sense for Huck to pursue at the 200 lb. limit would be unification. He deserves the chance. While there have been some close calls along the way, notably against Denis Lebedev and Firat Arslan in their first fight, Huck has strung along the sort of numbers that merit a chance to clean out what he started.
That doesn’t make it the most likely future. Unification hasn’t come about yet and is no guarantee. Huck makes good money in the Cruiserweight division. The best money for big men is still in the unlimited Heavyweight class.
If he beats Glowacki, it might be time for a permanent step up.
Marco Huck doesn’t appear to be a threat to Klitschko. It says here he can compete with any other big man in the world.
In a world without Klitschko, we might be calling Huck the ‘uncrowned’ champion of the division already.
Povetkin was seen, prior to his loss to Klitschko, as the next best Heavyweight on the planet. In three wins since that loss, Povetkin has strengthened his position. Consecutive knockouts of former title challenger Manuel Charr, Carlos Takam, and Mike Perez are better than anything anyone else, save Klitschko, has put together in the last year and change.
Huck mostly beat Povetkin up. It was a good fight but one where the speed and technique of Huck more than compensated for the greater mass of Povetkin. We’ve seen in Vitali Klitschko-Adamek and Wladimir Klitschko-Haye why some of the better Cruiserweights might stick in their class.
There are only so many belts to go around and ultimately the best dollars come against the top dog. It made, and even with the retirement of Vitali makes, sense to opt for easier ways to carve out a living than adding one’s name to the other side of a Klitschko bill.
Klitschko is still fighting at a high level but, at 39, age is going to be a factor sooner than later. Whether that means a young lion comes along to take him out, or the aches of nearly 70 professional fights and a successful amateur career simply wear him out, one can’t assume Klitschko for the long haul.
If Huck can hang with and in some eyes defeat Povetkin, there’s no reason not to consider his chances pretty good at Heavyweight. Defeat Glowacki and why not find out for good? He’s been talking about it for a couple years and there are hints a rise is coming.
He should do it.
There is a theory in some circles that boxing needs a Super Heavyweight division. It’s silly. Since the beginning of the so-called Super Heavyweight era, we’ve seen four fantastic really big men who walk around near 6’5 or more with the weight and athleticism to separate from the field. Once we get past Riddick Bowe, Lennox Lewis, and the Klitschko’s, how many super “Super Heavyweights” have there really been?
Cunningham was a punch or two away from upsetting the giant Tyson Fury. Chris Byrd and Eddie Chambers showed their chops against several much larger men outside the sibling towers. Haye and Adamek got to their major Klitschko fights by beating larger men. Heavyweight has always had giants. George Gardner, Buddy Baer, and Primo Carnera had success in their day, but smaller men found ways to counter their edge in size.
That’s always been part of the joy of Heavyweight. Watching a guy like Evander Holyfield solve Bowe the second time around, or a Larry Holmes control and break down a Gerry Cooney, tests the theory of skill and speed against size and force in a way no other division can.
Heavyweight is slowly taking new shape. The fights are getting better and Klitschko’s heirs are beginning to emerge. Maybe it will be Anthony Joshua, the British knockout machine slowly inching towards serious competition. Maybe it will be Joseph Parker, the thrilling New Zealander who has shown serious speed and power.
Huck won’t know if he can throw his hat into that ring unless he tries. Huck can keep racking them up at Cruiserweight, carving his piece of history into the division.
But there is no history in boxing like Heavyweight history.
Welcome to America Mr. Huck. Let’s hope you stay awhile.
Like many, this scribe tweeted some jokes about the ‘big’ announcement this week. That’s about all. If the biggest draw in the world wants to fight a soft touch on his way out, good for him. There’s no need to keep talking about foregone conclusions and that’s the last thing said on it from this corner until the pre-fight report card…Amir Khan’s public statement about being passed over was classy. Time for him to move on…True Detective’s penultimate season two episode was good stuff. This has been a good show too harshly judged by what it wasn’t (season one) then what it is (a pretty good riff on the real estate waters Chinatown did best of all)…No problem with Artur Beterbiev stepping away from clashing with Sergey Kovalev. The public interest was gauged but he has time to get genuinely ready. The Russian superfight really is worth marinating…Juan Carlos Payano deserved the nod against Rau’Shee Warren but what might Warren have done with just another fight or two of better experience? Over the last third of the fight, he appeared the clearly better man. He’ll only get better from here and that might turn out to be the definition of a good loss…While a good scrap, Payano-Warren made a strong case that the best two at 118 lbs. are fighting in September. While Payano got a cut-hastened decision over Anselmo Moreno, he didn’t really prove the better man. Moreno’s challenge of WBC titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka might be the highest quality signed fight in the sport right now.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]