By Johnny Walker
WBO cruiserweight champion Marco “Captain” Huck (pronounced “hook”) today ended a trilogy with British rival Ola Afolabi by cruising to a comfortable majority decision win over twelve rounds at the Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin, Germany.
While the previous two clashes had been wars, with both men taking and giving tremendous punishment, this was a more measured affair, with the fighters attempting to implement more conservative strategies.
The Brit held back in the opening rounds, to his detriment, allowing the champion to pile up points behind his usual flurries. While the first round may have been stolen by Huck with hard right hand near the end of round one, there could be no doubt as to who won round two, as Huck landed huge left and three big rights. While the Brit scored with a nice body shot, two more frantic flurries as the frame ended in the defending champ taking the round.
Things stayed much the same as Afolabi seemed to be conserving energy for a charge at the champ that never came. Huck utilized Coach Ulli Wegner’s peek-a-boo defense and blocked most of Afolabi’s flurries, which were sporadic at best, typically springing to life with some wicked frenzies of punching near the ends of rounds, exciting the fans and perhaps the judges as well.
By round six, Afolabi seemed to realize the fact that he was losing, and at least held his own with the champ, landing a big right hand that got Huck’s notice. The same pattern repeated in round seven, but this time Huck landed a BIG right hand of his own at the bell, and the German crowd went wild.
Round eight saw Huck regain control, as Afolabi seemed sluggish, hesitant, and the champ began bullying the Brit around the ring. Round nine saw Huck get off to a good start with a hard left, but the gritty Brit came back to land repeatedly on the attack to edge the round.
Huck held off a determined effort by Afolabi in the tenth, as the champ shook off a good right hand from the challenger, turning the tables by pinning Afolabi in the corner and strafing him with some hard shots of hid own.
The championship rounds of eleven and twelve belonged to Captain Huck, who attacked on the counter in round eleven and shook Afolabi with a huge right hand. The two men predictably went all out in the last round, when Huck stunned Afolabi with a hard right hand, with the Brit’s legs going spaghetti wobbly.
The judges had Huck retaining his belt by scores of (a highly questionable) 114-114 115-113, and 115-111.
What is next for Captain Huck (36-2-1,25 KOs) is up in the air, but if a fight between WBA “regular” heavyweight champ Alex Povetkin, who previously edged Huck in a controversial heavyweight tussle,and world HW champ Wladimir Klitschko falls through, perhaps The Captain will get his chance for revenge against the Russian.