Boxing


Marco Huck-Ola Afolabi - Who Wins?

huckby James Slater - Serbian-born Marco Huck of Germany captured the WBO cruiserweight strap this past Saturday with a UD win over Victor Emilio Ramirez, and in so doing the exciting 24-year-old set himself up for some big fights and big paydays in the coming months. Back in March of this year, 29-year-old British-born Californian Ola Afolabi made a similar impression on the world scene, when he shocked Enzo Maccarinelli in the 9th-round to capture the interim version of the belt Huck now holds.

To sort out just who the "real" WBO 200-pound champion is a fight between Huck and Afolabi is needed. Well, according to the usually reliable BoxRec, this match-up is indeed about to take place. Scheduled to meet in Germany on December 5th, the two once-beaten cruiserweights will battle it out for WBO title supremacy. Who will win?

Afolabi, 14-1-3(6) and nicknamed "Kryptonite," has not fought since upsetting Maccarinelli, and he has seen a couple of prospective fights fall apart (at one time, there was talk of Afolabi facing either Ramirez or recent "Contender" winner Troy Ross). Anxious no doubt to get back in the ring before the end of the year after having had a near nine month layoff from combat, Afolabi will surely be up for a fight with the big-punching Huck.

The British-born fighter is the more naturally gifted operator of the two men, but Huck is both younger and a harder hitter. Also, Huck's fast work-rate is well known, whereas Afolabi has been known to have looked a little lazy during periods of his fights. Could "Kapt 'n" Huck prove to be too aggressive, too determined and too hard working for the more laid back Afolabi? Or will "Kryptonite's" loose-limbed, James Toney-esque bag of tricks allow Huck to fall into a trap the way Maccarinelli did?

An intriguing fight that will likely add some more excitement to the 200-pound weight class, a case could be made for either guy winning in December. But will we see a KO? Huck, 26-1(20) has been stopped before, by Steve "USS" Cunningham, who took him out in the final round of an IBF title fight back in December of 2007. The Freddie Roach-trained Afolabi, however, has never tasted the canvas or a stoppage loss. Huck has come on a fair amount as a fighter since suffering his sole defeat though, and he has won seven bouts since, all but one by stoppage.

Afolabi, due to a combination of fights falling through and a chosen break period from the sport, has been nowhere near as active (just three bouts in a little under four years). This may or may not prove to be a factor in the fight, though, because those who have seen Afolabi and know about him are aware of how hard working he is in the gym, how much top quality sparring he gets and how relaxed he is when in the ring.

I see this fight going one of two ways: either the younger, more fiery Huck will outwork, out-land and overwhelm a slow starting Afolabi and either pound out a points win or maybe even force a stoppage, or the older man will get into his groove, set traps and give Huck a boxing lesson on the way to either a points win or a late stoppage.

Whoever wins, the action figures to be most watch-able.

Article posted on 01.09.2009



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