On Saturday, June 8, WBO cruiserweight champion Marco "Captain" Huck (35-2-1, 25 KO) will defend his title against Ola "Kryptonite" Afolabi (19-2-4, 9 KO) for the third time in Germany. This fight will take place in Max Schmeling Halle, Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin.
Despite the decided home-field advantage in the previous two fights, Afolabi has given the Serbian-born Berlin resident Huck all he can handle. Their first fight was competitive, but Huck captured a clear unanimous decision win in Dec. 2009.
Most recently the two men fought to a disputed draw in May 2012.
Trilogies are fun and good for boxing as they usually continue a line of entertaining and competitive bouts. The first two Huck-Afolabi bouts fit that description, but the second bout was especially good.
Here is a rather detailed highlight package of the second fight, per Mr. Giudzio on YouTube.
Here's how you can watch the third bout and a deeper look at the matchup.
When: Saturday, June 8 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: Max Schmeling Halle, Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin
TV: BoxNation (UK)
Live Stream: Box Nation (Region Restrictions Apply)
The Book on Huck
Looking for the Decisive Win
Aside from an unsuccessful attempt as a heavyweight against Alexander Povetkin, Huck hasn't lost a fight since 2007 when he was outpointed by Steve Cunningham.
As a cruiserweight champion who has fought almost exclusively in his home country of Germany, Huck has been extremely successful. However, almost every good fighter with a lengthy reign as champion has a fighter on their resume that gives them a little trouble.
For Huck, that fighter is Afolabi. Many—including myself—believe Afolabi won the second fight, so Huck needs to win this one decisively and not depend on the German crowd to influence the judges' decision.
In the Ring
I've never been impressed with Huck's boxing skills. He throws wide winging punches and he goes into a shell for prolonged periods of time.
What he does have going for him is heart. Huck's resolve and a solid chin have been on display on several occasions during his 37-fight career. The only time he was stopped was in a December 2007 bout with Cunningham.
His corner threw in the towel in the final round of that fight.
Aside from heart, Huck is also an effective puncher—especially to the body. He doesn't have explosive one-punch power, but he will stop his share of opponents with cumulative punishment.
Huck does have issues with opponent's with fast hands; this is why Cunningham defeated him and why Afolabi has given him problems.
This dynamic won't change in the third fight.
The Book on Afolabi
Is Afolabi Huck's Kryptonite?
Despite a few tough battles, Huck has been a cruiserweight Superman in Germany. He has consistently lured top fighters to Germany to fight him and he's fared well for the most part.
With Afolabi gearing up for a third meeting with his rival in Germany, he's hoping he can finally earn a decision or even stop Huck.
In the Ring
Afolabi's biggest issue when facing Huck is his lack of punching power. He's easily the more skilled and athletic fighter, but because he doesn't have the zip on his punches, he can't effectively deter Huck's overtures for a slugfest.
When the fighters fight at a distance, Afolabi's two-and-a-half inch reach advantage and edge in quickness is apparent. But Huck's punches seem to do more damage.
That could partially explain why the scorecards haven't gone in Afolabi's favor to this point. Because the power dynamic isn't likely to swing in his favor, Afolabi may have to refrain from the wild exchanges that give Huck a chance to gain the advantage.
This should be another competitive and entertaining fight, but I can see Huck stopping Afolabi this time. Huck will be more aggressive and look to make a statement against Afolabi early.
While it may be a risk in the event he can't finish him, his conditioning usually isn't an issue. Even if he doesn't stop Afolabi, Huck should score enough major power punches that will lead to another victory.
Follow me, because I love boxing and you do too.