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Hide Decisions Rusiewicz, Looks Poor

Herbie HideBy Erik Schmidt: Former two-time World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Herbie Hide (46-4, 42 KOs) struggled to win a six-round unanimous decision over Lukasz Rusiewicz (7-6) on Tuesday night in a cruiserweight match at Kugelbake-Halle, Cuxhaven, in Niedersachsen, Germany. Hide, now 37, once a fighter with blazing fast hands and tremendous punching power, looked as if he were fighting in slow motion against the 26 year-old Rusiewicz on Tuesday night, missing often with his punches and looking tired and slow.

Although Hide would ultimately prevail by the judges’ scores of 60-55, 59-56 and 60-56, he looked shot for the most part and nothing like his prime of 14 years ago when he was the WBO heavyweight champion. Luckily for him, he was facing only Rusiewicz, a fighter with little in the way of offensive skills and zero power.

However, what Rusiewicz did possess, namely excellent endurance and a good chin, made it very tough on Hide, because he was forced to work much harder than he’s been accustomed to since launching his comeback two years ago after a two year layoff from boxing.

Since that time, he’s fought 10 times against strictly mediocre opposition, knocking out many of them in the 1st round. Irrespective of his low quality opposition, Hide has moved up quickly in the cruiserweight division, currently landing him at #4 in the WBO, #5 in the WBC, #13 in the WBA and #14 in the IBF. All pretty good rankings considering that Hide has yet to face a top tier cruiserweight and is poised for a title shot in the next year.

In the 1st round, Hide fought at a leisurely pace, throwing a lot of jabs for most of the round, and a handful of slow right hands in the last minute. As I mentioned previously, Hide’s hand speed has slowed dramatically, meaning that he often struggles to land shots unless he’s fighting a slow opponent or gets lucky.

More than ever, he has to rely on timing to land his shots rather than his speed. However, in this fight, it didn’t matter that he struggled to land his right hand, because his opponent, Rusiewicz, threw only a few token punches in the 1st round as if he were there just to survive and make Hide look bad.

In the second round, Rusiewicz uncharacteristically landed a punch at the beginning of the round. This seemed to energize Hide, who began throwing more power shots and showing some roughhouse tactics, putting his forearm to Rusiewicz’s throat at one point. Hide had a reasonably easy time in the round, although he still looked slow, old and tired.

By the 4th round, Hide began to look worried and tired, his legs looking weak. Rusiewicz pressured Hide continuously, making the 37 year-old warrior fight much harder than he’s normally accustomed to. In the round, Rusiewicz bloodied Hide’s bottom lip.

In round five, Hide plodded around the ring, throwing punches as if he were in labor, his face in pain, sweating profusely and gasping for breath. The strange thing was, Rusiewicz was hardly doing anything at all other than coming at Hide. He wasn’t really throwing anything, yet Hide looked like he was ready to have a kitten in the ring.

In the 6th round, Hide used his head on Rusiewicz early in the round, prompting the Polish fighter to try unsuccessfully to exact revenge. The referee stepped in and warned both fighters about the extracurricular activity, and they both seemed to settle down after that. For the remainder of the round, Hide went after Rusiewicz with painfully slow right hands, missing more often than not and looking terrible.

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