STUTTGART, GERMANY – An exhausted Alexander Povetkin bagged enough early rounds to escape Germany last night with a majority decision over a surging Marco Huck.
Povetkin stormed out to take the first three rounds with an aggressive strategy to constantly back up Huck with hard combinations. Povetkin had a big second round where he focused hooks to the body and jabs through Huck’s guard. Huck landed a hard overhand right in the third, but Povetkin ended strong with a flurry of power shots to take the interval.
The overhand right would be the punch that changed the complexion of the fight. Huck stunned Povetkin with the punch in the fourth but was too wild in his follow-up to catch the champion again. However, Huck capitalized on Povetkin’s newfound respect for this power by working hard jabs in the fifth.
Povetkin was now visibly laboring but had a good comeback sixth where he outworked Huck on the inside. The challenger and former cruiserweight titlist again displayed his punching power in round seven by hurting Povetkin with numerous overhand rights in the final minute. Povetkin survived by bending over at the waist to his right side, which took the power off Huck’s blows and left just the back of his head exposed.
An exhausted Povetkin avoided Huck’s big shots in the eighth while reestablishing his left hook. Huck took control in the ninth by hurting Povetkin again with right hands. He followed up with a right uppercut and scoring jabs to set up a tightly contested finish in the championship rounds.
The tenth round was mired by a lot of clinching, but it was Huck who was the fresher man fighting out of them. Povetkin landed a right hook, but was often moved backwards in the round by Huck’s power jabs. The eleventh saw Povetkin get back on track by working his way inside with left and right hooks. While the blows did not seem to hurt Huck, the consistent output kept him on the defensive.
The final round was controlled early by Povetkin, who started with a strong flurry of power shots. Huck would respond huge in the final minuate and a half behind the accuracy of his overhand right. Huck hammered and buckled Povetkin with his money punch to clearly take the round.
In the end, Huck’s strong finish was not enough to overcome his mental lapses of inactivity in several rounds and Povetkin’s early lead. The judges awarded Povetkin a majority decision via scores of 114-114, 116-113 and 116-112, prompting loud boos from the crowd.
Povetkin, competing his first bout since leaving Teddy Atlas, admitted that his stamina problems were a direct result of expecting the former cruiserweight Huck to be a pushover.
“Maybe I underestimated him,” said Povetkin. “I thought it would be easier than this.”
Marco Huck believes even in defeat he proved himself to be the better fighter. He hopes that close nature of the contest will prompt an immediate rematch.
“I dominated him and showed my class today,” Huck declared. “After such a performance I hope to get a rematch.”
In the co-feature, Nathan Cleverly retained a his WBO light-heavyweight title in Wales with easy and thorough decision victory over Tommy Karpency. Cleverly never allowed Karpency to initiate any significant offense from the opening bell. While Karpency showed good defense from his southpaw stance, Cleverly focused his attack to the body with digging left hooks behind the guard. Along with the champion’s steady pressure, Karpency’s hands began to drop in the middle rounds, allowing Cleverly to land well to the head with slashing left hooks and straight rights.
Having never been stopped in his six-year career, Karpency was able to withstand Cleverly’s attacks. The champion’s last big attempt at a stoppage would come in the ninth via a salvo of power shots on a cornered Karpency.
The scorecards awarded Cleverly a shutout victory of 120-108 on all three cards. He gave credit to Karpency as the toughest opponent he’s faced.
“He was probably the toughest opponent I have faced over the distance,” said Cleverly. “A lot of guys are tough over six rounds, but wilt in the championship rounds. But Tommy is a 12-round fighter and it makes a difference.”
Marco Huck will be kicking himself when he looks at footage of this fight. He had Povetkin hurt badly several times thoughout the fight and could have gotten a stoppage if he turned up the pressure. Instead, he let Povetkin steal a few rounds behind punch output.
Watching this fight is another reason why Povetkin’s former trainer Teddy Atlas didn’t want his charge anywhere near Wladimir Klitschko’s right hand. Either Klitschko brother for that matter would brutally flatten him.
With that said, this fight was good enough to warrant a rematch. Unfortunately, the WBA ruled in January that the winner of this fight is obligated to face Hasim Rahman in the next 120 days.