Marco Huck 40-3-1 (27) won the little known IBO Cruiserweight belt in his last fight against the capable Dmytro Kucher, with a solid performance and a unanimous points decision. In this one against up and coming power puncher Mairis Briedis 21-0 (18), the recently vacated WBC Cruiserweight belt is up for grabs. Both fighters have very exciting styles which should make for an entertaining spectacle.
Huck has the edge in experience, having successfully defended the WBO Cruiserweight title a record 13 times in a row, and stepping up in 2012 to be narrowly outpointed by WBA (regular) heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin, he has definitely been there and done that.
His only loss since, came at the hands of Krzysztof Glowacki, in a fight he was winning on points until two 11th round knockdowns ended things for him. This fight could have been a very different outcome as Huck was one punch away from victory after Glowacki suffered a heavy knockdown in the 6th.
Due to this stoppage loss the oddsmakers have Briedis an 11 to 17 on favourite to pull off the win, and at just 32 years of age, Huck is now considered to be on the way out. These are surprising odds considering Huck has looked good in his two wins since losing his title, the first of which was an impressive stoppage win over long time rival Ola Afolabi.
The Glowacki defeat seemed more due to a lack of concentration than time taking its toll. It has not helped Huck’s case that Glowacki went on to lose his first defence of the title, but that is Glowacki’s sole defeat, and came at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk, a man touted for superstardom.
Huck’s best wins should not be ignored, coming against quality opposition in Dennis Lebedev, Firat Arslan (twice)’ and Afolabi (3 wins and a draw).
Despite an impressive unbeaten record, boasting an 86% knockout ratio, Briedis has very little experience in the 8 years since turning over to the professional ranks. The most recognisable name on his resume is limited Heavyweight Manuel Charr. This makes Briedis an unknown quantity coming into his first world title fight, and it is surprising to see him as such a big favourite.
Both fighters have similar advantages in terms of height and strength. Athough Briedis has the edge in power, that is likely due to the different levels the two contestants have been operating at. Both fighters are the same age so it really comes down to how much Huck has got left, after such a long and torrid 13 year career. Will his experience be enough to overcome Briedis’ freshness?
Huck needs to control the tempo of the fight with his signature bursts of punching, and not walk onto any of his opponents power shots. He is known to tire towards the end of the later rounds, so he needs to pace himself better than he has in the past. If he can us his jab more he will buy himself valuable recovery time, instead of getting too carried away with the agressive flurrys.
Conversely, if Briedis can keep the pressure on and make Huck work hard for 3 minutes of every round, he can break his man down with clean sharp boxing
In an exciting battle, which could provide knockdowns on both sides, I see the bookies 13 to 7 against underdog Huck, having enough left to take the fight on points.