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Marco Huck moving up to heavyweight

Marco Huck

By Jim Dower: Former WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (40-5-1, 27 KOs) is moving up to heavyweight after 14 years as a pro in two months from now against 41-year-old Yakup Saglam (40-4, 37 KOs) on June 16 in Munich, Germany.

Huck, 33, is trying to revive his career, which has taken a downturn in the last three years with losses to in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series to Oleksandr Usyk, Mairis Briedis and Krazystof Glowacki. Huck has lost his last two fights, and he looked terrible on both occasions in defeats to Usyk and Briedis.

The 6’4” German based Turkish heavyweight Saglam is a good puncher, and he has excellent size for the division. This should be a decent first test for Huck. Saglam has a lot of knockouts on his 12-year resume, but all of them have come against weak opposition with limited talent. When Saglam has stepped up a class against more talented heavyweights, he’s always lost. Saglam has past defeats to Joseph Parker, Odlanier Solis, Manuel Charr and Michael Wallisch. Parker knocked Saglam out in 2 rounds in June 2015, and Charr also stopped him in two rounds.

If Huck wants to jump on Saglam early, he’ll have a good chance of knocking him out quickly if his power carries up to the heavyweight division. Huck showed excellent punching power in his fight against Povetkin, but that was six years ago, and he was a lot younger then. Huck was very confident at that point in his career. Huck hasn’t looked anywhere near as confident in his last three fights.

The idea of Huck moving up to heavyweight is likely due to the success he had against former WBA champion Alexander Povetkin in February 2012. Huck lost a close 12 round majority decision to Povetkin six years ago in a fight that many boxing fans felt that he deserved to win. Huck landed the harder, cleaner shots in each round, and he gave Povetkin one of the toughest fights of his career apart from his loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. However, Huck is no lo longer the 27-year-old fighter that gave Povetkin major problems. Huck has had a lot of wars since then in fghts against Ola Afolabi, Firat Arslan, Dmytro Kucher, Briedis, Usyk, and Glowacki. Huck may not have enough youth left to compete at a high enough level at heavyweight to beat the best fighters in the division.

If Huck’s recent problems at cruiserweight stem from him struggling to make the weight limit for division, then it’s possible that he could be more effective in moving up in weight. Still, it’s going to be hard for the 6’2” Huck to deal with fighters that are much taller and naturally bigger than him. Fortunately for Huck, many of the larger heavyweights in the division are beatable guys like Mariusz Wach, Charles Martin, Johann Duhaupas, Lucas Browne, Dominic Breazeale, Kubrat Pulev, and Alexander Ustinov. The two best tall heavyweights are Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. Those are guys that Huck will have a tough time getting to for him to land his big shots, but it’s not impossible. If Huck knows how to pursue guys like that around the ring, he’ll have a chance against them.

Huck wouldn’t stand a chance against Joshua is he has a referee working the fight that prevents him from fighting on the inside. We saw that in Joshua’s recent fight against WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. Huck won’t stand a chance against the bigger heavyweights if he must deal with a referee that pulls him off of them when he’s trying to land shots.

The best plan for Huck would be to put together a string of wins against mid-level heavyweights, and then look to try and get a title shot against Joshua. There’s a lot of money to be made for Huck if he can get a title shot against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua. If Huck can get pushed up the rankings fast enough in the next two years, he could get a title shot by 2021 if he fights the right guys, and he doesn’t get beat.

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