Marco Huck vs. Mirko Larghetti: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

Briggs SeekinsFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2014

Marco Huck vs. Mirko Larghetti: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

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    Daniel Kopatsch/Associated Press

    Saturday night in Germany, WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck defends his title against undefeated Italian Mirko Larghetti. The 200-pound division is a bit of a forgotten weight class in the United States, but Huck is a star in Germany. 

    Huck has the best resume of any fighter in the cruiserweight division but only holds one belt. Some unification fights that bring together the various champions could bring some attention to the division. 

    But for now, Huck has to get by an unbeaten challenger.

Tale of the Tape

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    Jens Meyer/Associated Press
    Per Boxrec      Marco Huck     Mirko Larghetti
    Record:     37-2-1, 26 KOs      21-0, 13 KOs
    Height:     6'2"     6'0.5"
    Reach:     77"     Unlisted
    Weight:     200 lbs     200 lbs
    Age:     29     31
    Stance:     Orthodox     Orthodox
    Hometown:     Berlin, Germany     Frontino, Italy
    Rounds:     281     100

    At just 29, Huck is a well-seasoned veteran champion who has been fighting at the world-class level for most of the past decade. The Serbian native has become a popular star in his adopted country of Germany. 

    This will be Larghetti's first fight outside of his home country of Italy. He's picked a big challenge for his first trip away from home.

Main Storylines

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    WBO champion Marco Huck has the best resume of any fighter in the cruiserweight division. Last January he stopped Firat Arslan in six rounds. Arslan is a tough contender who earlier this month dropped a split decision against IBF champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez.  

    In 2007, Huck lost by Round 12 stoppage to Steve Cunningham in his first bid to win a world title. Since then, his only loss came by way of contested majority decision when he faced top heavyweight star Alexander Povetkin. 

    A lot of great potential matchups could happen at cruiserweight between the various belt-holders. Huck has fought Arslan and Ola Afolabi twice each in the past few years.

    They were good fights, but it would be nice to see Huck face a fellow champion. 

    Boxrec has Mirko Larghetti rated as the top cruiserweight in all of Italy. Of course, there are only seven active cruiserweight professionals in the entire country. 

    This will be Larghetti's first fight outside of Italy. It's a major opportunity for him but also an extremely formidable challenger.

Strengths

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    Daniel Kopatsch/Associated Press

    Marco Huck is a strong, durable cruiserweight. He stood up well against Alexander Povetkin in his one foray up to heavyweight. 

    Huck has a very good right hand and the power to finish an opponent off. He fights behind a tight European-style high guard and leaves few openings. His footwork is smart and efficient. 

    Mirko Larghetti is an aggressive, athletic fighter with good power. He's known very little outside of success in his amateur and professional career, and that kind of psychological boost can go a long way in a fight. 

Weaknesses

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    Daniel Kopatsch/Associated Press

    Marco Huck sometimes allows his opponents to seize the momentum and dictate the pace against him. At times he camps too much behind his guard, allowing his opponents to get off first with their own punches.

    Although not yet 30, Huck has fought a long time and been in many rugged contests. He looked great in his last fight in January, but age can catch up to a prizefighter in a hurry.

    Mirko Larghetti tends to attack with wide-open abandon, which leaves a lot of space for him to get countered. Huck won't shy away from standing in the pocket with him. 

    The step up in competition Larghetti is facing here cannot be underestimated. He'll be fighting outside of Italy for the first time ever, against the best fighter in the world in his division. The gulf in experience between Huck and Larghetti is a dangerous one for the challenger.

Marco Huck Will Win If...

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    Daniel Kopatsch/Associated Press

    Huck needs to put the pressure on Larghetti from the first round onward. The Italian challenger has never been in a fight at this level against an opponent this good, so Huck needs to make him uncomfortable and keep him that way. 

    Larghetti will try to get off to a fast start, so Huck needs to slow him down and prevent him from gaining any confidence. Huck should look to land a few big right hands in the first round.

    I doubt very much that Larghetti has ever tasted the power of a world-class, 200-pound puncher like Huck. Huck needs to buzz the challenger early and prevent him from getting on track at all.

    Once Huck has hurt Larghetti a little bit, he should remain patient and continue to pressure. He needs to give Larghetti a very quick education in how tough it is to breathe in the deep waters of a world-class prizefight.

Mirko Larghetti Will Win If...

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    Larghetti is taking a major step up in competition here, but his best chance to win is to approach the fight the same as the last 21 bouts that he's won. Larghetti should attack with a brisk pace and try to freeze Huck up behind his high guard and seize the momentum.

    Larghetti needs to be prepared to respond well when he gets caught with a big punch from Huck. It is very doubtful that he's ever been hit in a fight as hard as Huck is going to hit him, and if he can't stay in the pocket against that kind of power, he'll simply get walked down and pounded out. 

    For Larghetti to have a chance in this fight, he's going to need to deal with a tough physical fight for 12 long rounds. Until he's actually trying to do it, it's hard to know for sure how well he'll stand up.

Prediction

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    Daniel Kopatsch/Associated Press

    Larghetti is very much an unknown quantity in this fight. He definitely has some talent and the ability to knock another man out, but there's little basis for evaluating him against a fighter of Marco Huck's stature. 

    Huck was fighting at the top of the division in his early 20s. Now, as he closes in on 30, he's the top man in the world at cruiserweight. 

    Larghetti has shown nothing in his career to indicate that he belongs in the same class with Huck. And at 31, he's had time to do so. Compare his resume to somebody such as Thabiso Mchunu, who beat Eddie Chambers in his 16th fight, and it gets harder to take Larghetti seriously as a challenger for the champion. 

    He looks like a guy with some talent who has been eased along on the local circuit while waiting to cash in on a title fight. But like I said, he is an unknown quantity. Even if I were a betting man, I wouldn't be betting heavily on this fight. 

    Still, I feel reasonably confident that Huck will have too much skill, strength and experience for the undefeated Italian. I'm predicting a Round 7 TKO. 

    I'd love to see Huck face IBF champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez in a unification bout. I'd be excited to see him face rising star Mchunu. If WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev moves up soon, he and Huck would make for a superfight in my book. 

    There are a bunch of good heavyweights who don't tip in at much more than 220 pounds, and Huck matches up well with them. He is a very talented fighter and should be able to stay busy with any number of compelling bouts.