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Mairis Briedis favored to beat Marco Huck

Marco Huck

By Jim Dower: Undefeated #1 WBC Mairis Briedis (21-0, 18 KOs) is the favorite to defeat former WBO champion Marco Huck (40-3-1, 27 KOs) in their fight tonight for the vacant WBO cruiserweight title in Dortmund, Germany. Briedis, 32, is a 2:1 favorite, according to Fight News. It’s very surprising to see Huck as the underdog in a fight because he’s been the favorite for many years in his fights with the exception of his match with heavyweight Alexander Povetkin in 2012.

There’s a chance this fight could turn out to be a real mismatch with Huck’s primitive fighting style being no match for Briedis, who is just much more skilled and a far more advanced fighter. Briedis does everything that Huck can do, but he does it much better and with more speed and accuracy.

Briedis is one of those fighters with a great deal of power. He’s like the cruiserweight division’s version of Gennady Golovkin. He punches with huge power, and he’s economical with his punch output. Briedis doesn’t throw a lot of shots, but the ones that he does throw really count and do damage. We saw the kind of power that Briedis has in his knockouts of heavyweight Manuel Charr and cruiserweight contender Olanrewaju Durodola.

Huck, 32, is going to need to use a different fighting style tonight from the one that he normally uses because he’s going to have problems if he goes straight at Briedis looking to slug with him. That approach by Huck could result in him getting knocked out in the same way that he was in his knockout loss to Polish cruiserweight knockout artist Krzysztof Glowacki on September 14, 2015. Huck didn’t respect Glowacki’s power, and he ended up regretting it by getting knocked out in the 11th round.

Huck and Briedis are both the same age at 32, but they differ in the amount of punishment that they’ve received during their careers. Huck has been hit a lot in his fights despite having only lost 3 times. His straight ahead style of fighting has resulted in him getting hammered frequently by his opponents. Huck has mostly been able to take the punishment and still win the fight, but the accumulation of shots seems to have slowed the German based fighter.

In Huck’s recent fight against Dmytro Kucher, he looked like a shell of his former self. Huck was slower, and no longer throwing sustained combinations lie he’d done during the prime of his career. It’s possible that Huck is focusing on not getting hit as much. The thing is, Huck doesn’t have the boxing ability to win using a different style from the one that he’s always employed. Huck needs to slug for him to have a chance of beating Briedis tonight. If he tries to box with him, he’ll get out-pointed or possible even stopped. Huck has to fight in the manner that brought him to this level. That means he’s got to try and stop Briedis if he can.

Briedis comes from Latvia. He’s been a pro since 2009, and he’s not had any really competitive fights other than his match with Durodola in 2016. Briedis had to figure out Durodola in the first few rounds. Briedis took over the fight after the first couple of rounds, and ended up halting Durodola in round 9. This is the same Durodola that had recently knocked out Dmitry Kudryashov in the 2n round in his previous fight in November 2015.

There’s not much to separate the 6’2” Huck from the 6’1” Briedis in terms of size. Both guys are about the same height. Huck looks a little bit bigger, but Breidis is compact and very powerful. He’ll be looking to hit Huck with some monstrous shots if he stands in front of him and throws his combinations. Huck will be taking a risk if he attacks Briedis in that manner. We saw Durodola and Simon Vallily both try and attack Briedis with combinations, and they were hit with big counter shots that hurt them.

Vallily fights with a very similar style as Huck, and he was running into uppercuts from Briedis and powerful body shots. In the 3rd, Briedis knocked Vallily down with a hard body shot. Briedis continued to hammer away at Vallily with head and body shots until the referee stopped the fight. Briedis body punching was devastating in that fast pace fight. Vallily was a very tough fighter. He had a lot of size going for him, and attempted to turn it into a brawl. In hindsight, it didn’t work out well in this fight.

What was noticeable in Briedis’ wins over Vallilly and Durodola was his body punching and his short inside shots. Briedis was able to land a lot of really hard punches from close range, especially to the body. Huck is a good puncher on the inside as well, but he’s not nearly as quick as Briedis. Huck will have problems with Briedis’ hand speed the fast pace that he fights at. Huck didn’t look he could fight hard for the full 3 minutes in his last fight against Kucher. That could be age or conditioning that kept Huck from being able to fight the full 3 minutes of the round at a fast pace.

Huck is going to have problems with Briedis constant attacks, because he never lets up and he doesn’t let his opponents rest. He turns his fights exhausting affairs where he forces his opponents to either stay with him and fight all out or they end up getting tired and taken out. Huck looked like an old man in his last fight against Kucher. That’s bad news for Huck, because he’s facing a guy with a much younger fighting style in Briedis.

Huck was getting hit a lot by Kucher’s slow jab and right hands last November. It was a fight that was fought a slow pace, like two old heavyweights. Huck was missing quite a bit with his right hand power shots despite Kucher being right there in front of him. Huck did not look good at all in that fight. The way he fought, he’s not going to be able to last long against Briedis with his accurate punching, fast pace, and body shots. When Huck attempts to throw punches, Briedis will be going to the body with his left hook, and will take the fight out of him. This could be a really bad mismatch.

The referee is going to need to keep an eye on the rabbit punching from Huck. He hit Kucher with some really hard punches to the back of the head in their fight. Kucher took the shots well, but it looked bad. The referee can’t let Huck get away with those kinds of punches without taking points off. In Briedis’ fight with Vallily, he was getting hit with hard rabbit to the back of his head in round 1 and 2. Huck tends to throw a lot of the rabbit shots. It would be a shame if the fight tonight gets out of control where both guys are hitting each other in the back of the head while the referee stands and watches without doing anything. The referee needs to take control over the fight immediately when he sees either of these guys throwing punches that are illegal. Briedis doesn’t throw rabbit shots, but Huck tends to do it a lot.

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