Premier Boxing Champions is back on Spike TV on Friday, Aug. 14, from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The next shot at a world heavyweight title could be on the line when Spike TV analyst Antonio "Magic Man" Tarver (31-6, 22 KO) puts down the mic and puts on the gloves to take on Steve "USS" Cunningham (28-7, 13 KO) in the main event.
In the co-feature, WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (38-2-1, 26 KO) will defend his title against undefeated Polish challenger Krzysztof Glowacki (24-0, 15 KO). Welterweight contender Shawn Porter will replace Tarver as the expert analyst alongside Scott Hanson, Jimmy Smith and Dana Jacobson, per BoxingScene.com.
When: Friday, Aug. 14, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
TV: Spike TV
Live Stream: Spike.com
Tarver vs. Cunningham Preview
Despite the fact that both Tarver (46) and Cunningham (39) are past their prime and fighting in weight classes that are at least two steps bigger than their natural divisions, this fight could be special.
The reasons for optimism can be broken down into two words: skills and urgency.
Both Tarver and Cunningham are well-schooled artists in the sweet science. Between them, the two veterans have 72 professional fights and decorated amateur careers. As pros, they have captured a combined five world titles.
Even with all the accomplishments, a hunger burns inside both men to once again reach the pinnacle of their sport. Tarver's faith and purpose have him focused as he prepares for this huge opportunity. The former light heavyweight champion let us in on one of his training sessions in the tweet below:
While pushing 40 is reason enough for Cunningham to have desperation and urgency, he also draws motivation and purpose from his daughter, Kennedy.
Cunningham's wife, Livvy, recounted how doctors told the family in 2014 that Kennedy—in need of a heart transplant—was not eligible for one because her condition made her a high-risk patient. The Cunninghams were told to "enjoy the time she had left," per Jesse Dougherty of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Later that year, in December, another hospital the Cunninghams had contacted for a second opinion called with good news. It said it had a heart for Kennedy.
Aware of the risks, the Cunninghams took the chance, and Kennedy is now doing well. She's pictured below playing with her brother Cruz while her dad trains for his upcoming bout:
"If she can do that, I think I can do anything in boxing, in life," Cunningham said, per Dougherty. "I always take that into the ring." With a backstory like that, it's hard not to root for Cunningham.
Tarver is coming off an impressive seventh-round KO win over Johnathon Banks in December 2014. It was his second win in a row and second at heavyweight.
Cunningham lost a disputed unanimous decision to Vyacheslav Glazkov in March. Because many believe Cunningham deserved to get the decision, he hasn't taken much of a step back. A win could put both men in line to face WBC champion and PBC stablemate Deontay Wilder in 2016.
Huck vs. Glowacki Preview
In his first fight outside of his adopted home of Germany, the Serbian-born Huck has a chance to grab the attention of the American boxing fan.
Huck has ruled the cruiserweight division for the better part of the last seven years. He's been a world champion in the weight class since August 2009. The German has just one loss in the division in his career. That coincidentally came against Cunningham in 2008.
Huck's other pro loss came in a one-fight run at heavyweight when he lost a majority decision to former WBA champion Alexander Povetkin in 2012. In his last fight, Huck easily outboxed Mirko Larghetti en route to a unanimous-decision win in August 2014. After nearly a full year outside of the ring, Huck will fight in front of the largest worldwide audience in his career.
At 30 years old, he still has a lot left in the tank, but it seems he may be getting a bit bored with the sport. Per BoxingScene.com, the former kickboxer spoke with UFC President Dana White about a potential run in mixed martial arts down the road.
For now, he must focus on a formidable challenger whose primary focus is to take the longtime champion's belt away.
Glowacki is largely untested. He's had just six fights scheduled for more than eight rounds, and only his last two wins, a unanimous decision over Nuri Seferi in January and a fifth-round KO of Thierry Karl in October 2014, have come against decent competition.
On Friday, he'll be in the ring with arguably the best in the division. We'll see which man proves to be superior.
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