Tarver-Cunningham & Huck-Glowacki tonight on PBC on Spike TV
(Photo credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment) By Allan Fox: In a crucial fight for him, former 175lb world champion Antonio Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) will be back in the ring tonight against #6 IBF heavyweight contender Steve “USS” Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs) on Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV from the Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey.
Tarver, 46, cannot lose this fight if he wants a fight against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko before he steps away from the game. If Tarver loses the fight, then he might as well consider retirement because it’ll take too long for him to rebuild after a loss of this nature.
Rebuilding is a thing that younger fighters do when they’ve got two to three years to build themselves back up. Tarver doesn’t have that luxury. A rebuilding stage for him would require that he hang around until he’s 48 or 49, and that’s just asking a lot of his body to be able to still fight at that age.
Even if he wins tonight, Tarver probably doesn’t have enough time to work his way to a No.1 mandatory spot to face Wladimir. To get to the No.1 spot, it’s likely going take Tarver another two years for the World Boxing Association to rank him.
Tarver could speed up the process if he beat someone like Lucas Browne, Bryant Jennings or Fres Oquendo, but he’s not likely to fight any of those guys. Tarver has got to hope that he’ll be able to get a world title fight based off of him getting selected by Wladimir in a voluntary defense.
Tarver looked kind of flabby at Thursday’s weigh-in. He weighed in at 217lbs compared to Cunningham’s 204. Tarver might still get the win despite looking out of shape, but you have to figure that Cunningham will have an advantage in this fight in that he’s not carrying around an extra 20-25 pounds of fat on his frame like Tarver is at this time.
Tarver looks like an out of shape cruiserweight. If you take away the extra fat that Tarver has on him, he’s someone who weights in the 190s. Cunningham is pure muscle at 204lbs, but he took is more of a cruiserweight than an actual heavyweight.
Both of these guys are too small to compete against the bigger heavyweights like Wladimir Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. You could probably lump in some of the 2nd tier prospects as well that would be too big for Cunningham and Tarver, like Erkan Teper and Dillian Whyte. Those guys would be a lot bigger than those guys and might have too much power for them.
WBO cruiserweight champ Marco Huck (38-3-1, 26 KOs) is facing what he hopes is an easy opponent for him tonight in WBO mandatory challenger Krzyzstof Glowacki (24-0, 15 KOs). Huck has been the WBO champion for years now, and he just seems to be holding steady as the WBO champion without losing anything from his game.
Glowacki isn’t a big puncher and doesn’t compare with some of the better cruiserweight contenders in the division right now. There are four or five contenders at cruiserweight right now that would give Huck all kinds of problems if given the chance, but Huck’s management has been careful with him ever since his close 12 round decision win over Denis Lebedev five years ago. Huck arguably lost that fight, but was given a lucky break by the judges that scored the fight in his favor in Germany. The Russian Lebedev did more than enough to get the win in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans.
Interestingly enough, that was the last time that Huck fought a really dangerous opponent at cruiserweight, In 2012, Huck moved up to heavyweight and lost a 12 round decision win to Alexander Povetkin. But Lebedev did a better job against Huck than Povetkin did but he didn’t get the win.
There’s a chance that Huck can become a big star in the United States like Gennady Golovkin, but for that to happen, Huck will need to stay at cruiserweight. He’s also going to need to start fighting the best of the cruiserweights instead of the mediocre ot that he’s been facing for the past five years.
If Huck moves up to heavyweight, he’ll likely struggle because he’s not a big fighter at only 6’2”, 200lbs. If he bulks up to 220, he’d still be small for a heavyweight. But if you look at how well Povetkin has done st heavyweight, then it’s possible Huck could find success as well.
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