By: William Holmes
The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey will be the host site for Friday’s edition of the PBC on Spike TV. A heavyweight contender bout featuring two former champions in lighter weight classes, Antonio Tarver and Steve “USS” Cunningham, will be the main event of the evening. A loss for either for either Tarver or Cunningham will likely end any world title aspirations that they may have.
The co-feature of the night will feature Marco Huck defending his WBO Cruiserweight title against Krzysztof Glowacki in a rare US appearance for Huck. The undercard features several boxers with Polish backgrounds as well as local talent, including Artuz Szpilka, Maciej Sulecki, Travis Kauffman, Jarret Hurd, and Jeff Lentz.
The following is a preview of both the televised bouts of the evening.
Marco Huck (38-2-1) vs. Krzysztof Glowacki (24-0); WBO Cruiserweight Title
Marco Huck has been the WBO Cruiserweight champion since 2009, but he has never fought in the United States and is a relative unknown to the American audience. His opponent, Kzrysztof Glowacki, has also never fought in the United States but will likely have the support of the majority of the fans in attendance since North Jersey is known for having a sizeable Polish immigrant population.
Huck and Glowacki are similar in age, Huck is thirty and Glowacki is twenty nine. Huck will have about a two inch height advantage. Glowacki was a former Polish Junior Champion as an amateur while Huck does not have any notable distinctions as an amateur boxer, but is a former world champion as an amateur kick boxer.
Huck has stopped twenty six of his opponents, but only one of his last five fights resulted in a stoppage victory. Glowacki has fifteen stoppage victories, and has stopped three of his past five opponents.
Huck, by far, has the more polished resume as a professional. His lone losses were to former IBF Cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham and a loss to Alexander Povetkin in a WBA Heavyweight title fight in 2012. Huck has defeated the likes of Firat Arslan, Ola Afolabi, Ran Nakash, Denis Lebedev, and Jean Marc Monrose. He has successfully defended his WBO Cruiserweight title since 2009.
Glowacki has never left the friendly confines of Poland to fight. His only notable victories were over Nuri Seferi, Thierry Karl, and Matty Askin.
Huck has made a career out of fighting in Germany and it seems unlikely he would have risked his title in the United States against a dangerous opponent unless it was for a high payday. Glowacki does not appear to be a dangerous opponent for Huck, but the support of the crowd could give Glowacki motivation to perform better than expected.
Antonio Tarver (31-6) vs. Steve Cunningham (28-7); Heavyweights
Steve Cunningham is thirty nine years old and last held a legitimate world title in 2011. Antonio Tarver is forty six years old and last held a legitimate world title in 2008. The likelihood of either boxer competing for the world heavyweight title in the near future appear slim, but a loss for either will close that door for good.
Both Cunningham and Tarver had impressive amateur careers. Cunningham won the National Golden Gloves title in 1998 and Tarver was a bronze medalist for the US Olympic team in 1996.
Cunningham is well known for keeping himself in peak physical condition and there’s very few boxers out there that can keep up with his stamina, but he has shown in recent fights that big men can wear him down over twelve rounds. Tarver’s physical conditioning has been questioned in recent fights and he has only fought once since December of 2013.
Neither boxer is known for their power. Cunningham has only stopped thirteen of his opponents and only has one stoppage in his past five fights. Tarver has won twenty two times by knockout or technical knockout, and he has stopped three of his past five opponents. But he has only fought five times since 2010 and he tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone after his 2012 bout with Lateef Kayode.
Tarver has an impressive resume and has fought some of the best boxers the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions have to offer. He looked very good in his last fight against Johnathon Banks in December of 2014. He has also defeated the likes of Danny Green, Clinton Woods, Roy Jones Jr., Glen Johnson, Eric Harding, and Montell Griffin. He has lost to the likes of Roy Jones Jr. by a controversial decision, Glen Johnson by a split decision, Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson.
Steve Cunningham also has an impressive resume and has also fought some of the best boxers the divisions have to offer. He has defeated the likes of Amir Mansour, Troy Ross, Wayne Braithwaite, Marco Huck, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, and Guillermo Jones. A large number of his losses were controversial and many felt he really won most of them. He has lost close decision to Vyacheslav Glazkov, Tomasz Adamek, Yoan Pablo Hernandez, and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. Cunningham was stopped by Tyson Fury, but even that came with some controversy as Fury was excessively holding and Cunningham was able to drop and hurt Fury badly in the second round.
This should be a good, competitive fight between two talented and technically skilled boxers. Cunningham is an easy fighter to root for and his daughter’s well documented recent heart transplant has most of the boxing community rooting for him. But Cunningham’s age differential and greater in ring activity should be the difference in the fight and should lead him to a win.
“This is a big fight for me. PBC was designed for the new, young stars but I’m thankful they’ll let an old guy like me steal the spotlight on Friday night.
“You have two guys who know their way around the ring. We’re in the hurt business and only one man can win. When the smoke clears on Friday we’ll see who’s left standing.
“Every fight is do or die for me. I’ve come too far to start over. I’m on a destiny trip right now. I’m racing towards that heavyweight world championship.
“I was a big light heavyweight but I feel perfect at heavyweight. When I look back at some of my old fights, I was really just a shell of myself. Now I’m healthy and strong and ready to get to the top.
“I wasn’t blessed with this unique talent for nothing. I have to put it on display. The game hasn’t retired me. When I went through all of my struggles, I became a champion right then. Now I just have to walk through my destiny.
“I’m fighting the very best and I’m beating the very best. I’m looking to knock everybody out.
“Training camp has been amazing. My team has gotten me beautifully prepared for this fight. We’re just feeling strong and can’t wait until Friday.
“When I look at the ‘Rocky Balboa’ film when I played the undisputed heavyweight champion, I feel like art is going to imitate life. I played the champ in a movie and I’m going to become the champ in reality.”
“It’s a pleasure and an honor to be working with PBC. It’s fight time. Training camp is over. Training camp was hell, and that’s a good training camp.
“I know I’m prepared to do what I need to do. I’m ready to get this win and I want to look spectacular.
“Tarver is a five-time champion, legend, Hall of Famer, but that’s all going out the window August 14. He’s just another guy I have to beat.
“My record doesn’t reflect what I’ve done in the ring, but I take it on the chin and keep going forward like I do in the ring.
“People have seen the work ethic from me. They’ve seen what I’ve gone through in the ring. They saw the close decision losses. I’ve always had faith in myself and I still do.
“Tarver has fought the best out there. He’s been there. He’s been through adversity. He’s had ups and downs. There’s nothing you can say about Tarver that makes you feel like you can go in there and make him look like a bum.
“I’m 39 and I feel awesome. This is a fight. The age means nothing to me. I’m fighting a five-time champion and that’s how we look at it.
“A guy like Tarver, sometimes you have to talk yourself up to get to where you want to go and that’s who he is. He’s a good talker. That will carry on into his next career. But he’s dealing with a guy who grew up dealing with trash talking. I dealt with trash talkers in every language. The talk is for him. He sold this fight, great. But now I’m getting in there to fight.
“I’m trained by brother Naazim Richardson, he’ll never let me take anyone lightly. If you do that, that’s how you go in there and get wiped out.”
“I’m really happy to be here for my U.S. debut. This is the mecca of boxing. I’ve wanted to fight here for a very long time.
“I am looking forward to wiping the floor with some of these guys up here.
“It’s a very special occasion for me to be here and I’m going to show everybody what I’m all about.
“This is a similar feeling to the one when I fought for my first world title. I’m starting to heat up inside. I can’t wait to put my fists on somebody.
“I want to bring this sport to everybody. Not just the people who make money but the people who don’t have the money to spend on the sport. It’s great for the sport.
“People can talk a lot but you have to prove it inside of the ring. I always prove it inside the ring. On Friday they will be chanting “Huck! Huck! Huck!'”
“I’m so happy to be here. This fight is my whole life. I always dreamed about this chance to be a world champion and it’s very close.
“There’s no doubt Huck is a great fighter, a warrior, but if he thinks for a second this is going to be easy he’s mistaken big time. This is going to be a war from the first round to the last.
“I already see me as world champion. Huck is a great fighter, great warrior, so what? I’m ready for a war, from first round to the last.”
“I’m so excited to be here. I’m boxing for Polish people including my friend Glowacki, who I know can beat Huck.
“I want to show everybody how good I am. Everyone who does not believe in me will know the truth.
“All four Polish guys, my friends, will win on Friday.
“I have an amazing team and I can’t wait. I am becoming a better and better fighter and I promise this will be an exciting fight.”