Marco Huck's name doesn't come up when most fight fans mention the pound-for-pound best, but few champions have been as consistent as Huck in the last seven years. On Saturday, August 30, from Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, Huck will attempt to defend his WBO cruiserweight title against Mirko Larghetti.
If Huck is successful, it will be his 13th straight defense, which would tie a record.
Huck has lost just one fight since 2007, and that came in a brief attempt at the heavyweight title against Alexander Povetkin in 2012.
In that fight, Huck made a good account of himself but lost by majority decision. How can a fighter with such a solid record and a world title be scrapping in relative obscurity as it pertains to American fight fans?
It's because Huck has fought outside of Germany just twice in his career and never in the United States. That's not a formula for worldwide appeal.
Larghetti is undefeated, but the 31-year-old Italian hasn't had experience against top-notch fighters in his weight class. Huck figures to be a significant step up in competition. Like Huck, Larghetti rarely fights outside of his home country.
Because Huck is the champion, Larghetti is bracing for a significant road trip into hostile territory.
The record for most title defenses by a cruiserweight champion is 13, and it's held by Johnny Nelson.
If Huck defeats Larghetti on Saturday, he will equal the record. Based on his pre-fight comments, one might think the 29-year-old German, by way of Serbia, is a bit overconfident.
Per Boxing Scene, Huck said this of Nelson and Larghetti's chances of thwarting his plan to make history:
Nelson was an exceptional athlete who did not back down from any challenge. I am no different. His style of fighting was not the most spectacular but it was successful. It is an honor to get the chance to equal his record. But in contrast to Nelson, I will not struggle against an Italian in my thirteenth defense. My aim is to beat Larghetti first, then Nelson’s record!’
Along the way, Huck has taken on all comers—at least those willing to travel to Germany to fight him—and he's even given the likes of Firat Arslan and Ola Afolabi rematches after disputed decisions.
Huck has been a fighting champion, even if he's more of a local one.
Looking to Seize the Moment
Mirko Larghetti Campione Europeo e sfidante alla corona mondiale dei pesi Massimi Leggeri ad Aprile a Berlino pic.twitter.com/DAaAm1Xr2v— Emilio Mellone (@MelloneEmilio) March 14, 2014
Initially, the bout was scheduled for March 29, but it was cancelled and later rescheduled after Huck broke his thumb.
The announcement came just over two weeks before Huck and Larghetti were set to compete. A late change like that can impact the training of a fighter. Perhaps it most significantly affects the non-injured fighter.
Larghetti was presumably ready to go on March 29, so to have the fight cancelled and not rescheduled until August is a big deal.
He did take a keep-busy bout with Attila Palko in June. The Italian won that one easily in the second round. Still, Palko is no Huck, and the intensity wasn't likely the same as it will be on Saturday.
Will Larghetti be able to seize the moment after dealing with the cancellation?
Larghetti is a boxer-puncher with slick skills and decent footwork. While he wouldn't be described as a big puncher, he does possess the power to make his opponents respect him.
That said, against a tough guy like Huck, Larghetti doesn't figure to have more pop than anyone else the champion has faced.
Huck's greatest attribute is his stamina. Despite the fact that he's an active fighter, he has as deep of a gas tank as any cruiserweight you'll find.
Late in fights, he usually outworks opponents and stacks rounds in the second half of the bout. Because Larghetti has only gone 12 rounds once in his career, his stamina is a question mark, whereas Huck's is not.
Couple that with the overall edge in experience, and Huck should win this fight by decision.
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