By John J. Raspanti
Marcus Huck and Mairis Briedis like to mix it up. They throw punches in bunches with bad intentions.
The heavy-handed cruiserweights will fight tomorrow at Westfalanhalle in Dortmund, Germany for the vacant WBC world title.
Huck, 32, of Germany, dominated the cruiserweight division for six years. He made 13 record-tying defenses, until being unceremoniously knocked out by huge underdog Krzysztof Glowacki in 2015.
The loss shocked everyone, but most of all Huck. He changed trainers twice, dumping longtime coach Ulli Wegner for Conni Mittermeier, and Mittermeier 10 days before his fight with Ola Afolabi.
He’s now working with former European welterweight champion Oktay Urkal.
“I’m very glad that I’ve got a young ambitious trainer who has also a lot of experience in the ring,” Huck told Heiko Mallwitz of www.worldboxing.net last month.
“We’ve known each other for years because we were in the same training group with Ulli Wegner," Huck added.
Briedis, 32, of Latvia, is undefeated, with 18 big knockouts in 21 wins. The man can punch. He starched tough Simon Vallily last October in eight minutes. Briedis most important victories were stoppages of Olanrewaju Durodola and heavyweight contender Manuel Carr in 2015.
Carr was expected to beat Briedis, but a wicked uppercut left the bigger man unconscious in round five.
Briedis is impressed by Huck’s accomplishments.
“I’m standing in the ring on Saturday with a warrior," said Briedis yesterday at a press conference. ”Marco is a champion. There can be no other plan than an early win.”
Both fighters are the same age, but Huck (40-3, 27 KOs) has more miles on his pugilistic anatomy. He’s been a pro for 13 years and engaged in a number of tough fights.
Briedis appears to be the fresher of the two, but Huck will bring championship experience into the ring.
Huck will be the aggressor all night long. Ring wear can happen suddenly. He looked a step slower in his last bout.
Briedis can likely outbox Huck, but it’s going to be difficult to win a decision in Germany. Huck will fight in bursts and need to pace himself—while Briedis can’t take anything for granted.
Look for a hard-fought match, with Huck likely edging Briedis on the scorecards. Unless the power-punching Briedis can stop Huck, which could happen late in the contest.