Marco Huck (40-4-1, 27 KOs) gave it his best shot against Mairis Briedis (22-0, 18 KOs) but he wasn’t good enough in losing to the Latvian fighter by a 12 round unanimous decision tonight in a match for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title at the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany. Briedis prevailed on all three of the judges’ scorecards in winning by the scores 116-111, 117-110, and 118-109.
Huck fought well enough to deserve 1 or 2 rounds under the best of circumstances. If you ignored the great work that Briedis did in every round, you could make give Huck a round or two, but no more than that. Boxing News Results saw it as a clear shutout win for the 32-year-old Briedis with him winning by the score120-108. There were no knockdowns or point deductions in the fight.
Neither guy was ever hurt. Part of the reason for no one getting hurt in the fight was the cautious style that both fighters exhibited. Huck used to be a guy that was willing to take risks in his fights in order to land his big power shots. What may have changed that was his 11th round knockout loss to Krzystof Glowacki in 2015. Huck is no longer the type of fighter that puts his chin on the line in his fights, and that was definitely the case tonight. Huck fought in a very tentative manner, as if he was afraid of running into something big from Briedis. You can’t blame Huck for not wanting to risk getting knocked out, because Briedis was hitting him hard in every round with hooks and uppercuts.
Things looked bleak for Huck going into the championship rounds of the contest. His German trainer was talking a mile a minute in the corner and sounding panicky. I couldn’t understand what was being said to Huck, but I got the gist of what his trainer might have been telling him. He clearly knew that Huck was way behind in the fight and needed to come back strong in the last 4 rounds to have a chance of pulling out the victory. To Huck’s credit, he tried hard to rally and score a knockout. He just wasn’t fast enough nor was he accurate enough with his shots. Huck missed frequently with his wild shots, which made him look clumsy. He would miss and then stumble forward and get nailed by Briedis. We saw the same scenario over and over; Huck missing and then getting countered by Briedis.
Huck got a little dirty in the last part of the fight in hitting Briedis with rabbit punches, and doing a lot of wrestling. One incident stood out from all the rest, and that came in the 11th when Huck hit Briedis when his back was turned, causing him to fall down. The German boxing crowd got excited by the knockdown, but it was clearly a foul on Huck’s part. The referee Jay Nady didn’t take point away. You can argue that he could have taken a point away from Huck for that rabbit shot because it was clearly not fair to Briedis.
Huck looked dispirited in round 10, as Briedis was hitting him with solid blows to the head and body. The body shots seemed to really bother Huck, because he retreated quickly after getting hit with a hard left to the body. Briedis landed all the shots in the round. Huck was on the defensive and trying his best not to get hit. It looked to me like Huck had given up and put the white flag up. He was not really doing much at all.
In round 12, it was Briedis who was coming forward looking to land a knockout shot. He clearly wasn’t going to take chances with the judges. As the visiting fighter, Briedis needed to make sure that he finished out the fight in an aggressive manner, because he was in Huck’s home country. Huck had a really bad 12th round. His only significant blow that he landed in the round was a punch to the back of Briedis’ head. Briedis was the one landing all the nice shots during the round. Huck lacked ambition from could see.
There wasn’t any drama in tonight’s Huck-Briedis fight. It was a lot of holding by both fighters, and a lot of missed shots by Huck. Briedis landed well, but he wasn’t letting his hands go with combination punching like he normally does. In other words, Briedis showed Huck too much respect. When Briedis did throw some nice combinations to the head and body of Huck, he was wrapped up in a clinch to prevent him from continuing to rain punches on him. Huck isn’t known for his defensive prowess, but tonight, he was pretty solid in blocking a lot of the punches from Briedis. The shots that Huck couldn’t block were the jabs from Briedis. Huck was getting hit by a lot of Briedis’ jabs, and that was why it was hard to give him rounds. Briedis was always landing his jabs to the head of Huck.
Briedis’ victory tonight gives him the IBO and WBC cruiserweight title. There’s no word yet whether Huck wants a rematch with Briedis or not. It would not likely be any different no matter how many times the two fighters face each other. Briedis wasn’t just a little bit better than Huck tonight. He was A LOT better. Briedis was too good. If Huck wants to be stubborn about it and fight Briedis again, he should go for it, but I think it would be stupid for him to do so.
Past WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew is the WBC Emeritus champion. He made some noise this week, saying that he would come back at a later time to challenge for the WBC title. If Bellew is really serious about wanting to fight for his old WBC title, then he’ll return to the division to fight Briedis.
Huck is a good fighter still, but he needs to pick his opposition carefully for him to still win. Briedis was a bad match-up for him. Huck is better off going in another direction towards one of the other champions if he can get another title shot. That’s a big if. Huck may need to work his way to a title fight, because I can’t see any of the champions giving him a title shot off the back of this loss.
Briedis has the chance to take on some of the other cruiserweight champions in a unification fight if he wants to. It would be interesting to see how Briedis does against WBO cruiserweight champion Alexander Usyk or IBF champion Murat Gassiev.