The hugely popular Marco Huck (?-?) successfully defended his WBO Cruiserweight title for the 10th time as he out-pointed veteran Firat Arslan (?-?) in a thoroughly engaging 12 round war that really could have gone either way.
Surprisingly it was the 42 year old challenger, Firat Arslan that really forced the bout through out as he rushed at Huck to start every round and really went at the champion in every round. Arslan's great work took it's toll on Huck from the off as he busted Huck's nose in the second round and appeared to win almost all of the early rounds with his relentless pressure.
Thankfully for Huck he started to eventually get going as he began to generate some distance with which he could work from. At a distance Huck looked a different fighter and he really started to target Arslan's body, trying to drain the tank of the challenger who was relentless in his forward march. Although Huck's attacks were much less frequent than Arslan's they certainly seemed to contain the harder shots and in the middle section of the bout he seemed to take a slight advantage as he brought the score cards closer together.
In the latter rounds we were treat to some real tit-for-tat moments as each man took it in turns to attack. One minute Arslan would force Huck on to the ropes and land long combinations of shots, targeting the head of Huck with uppercuts, the next minute Huck was dominating with his body assault forcing Arslan on to the back foot. This left us with a number of rounds which were razor thin and really, really hard to split the fighters on.
When it came to the cards it obvious that it was close and the first two cards showed as much with scores of 115-113, however the third card, 117-111 really didn't reflect the nature of the bout. Thankfully for Huck all 3 were in his favour, however a really strong case could be made for Arslan winning the bout.
For Arslan this proves there is a lot more left in the old dog than any of us suspected. He really could go in with almost any Cruiserweight and hold his own and it sort of suggests that his performance against Alexander Alexeev wasn't all to do with Alexseev fighting the wrong fight.
For Huck however it could have been a case that he looked past Arslan with a lot of talk about a bout with Wladimir Klitschko...however it could also be a case that the hard fights are catching up with Huck. Huck didn't look his-self, of course Arslan played a part in that but hard fights with both Alexander Povetkin and Ola Afolabi already this year won't have helped. We don't often see championship level fighters fighting 36 hard, competitive rounds in a year and that's what Huck has done in 2012.
Huck's team needs to give 6-9 months off, let him recharge his batteries, let him recover from these wars, then look at moving to Heavyweight. Don't let Huck spar for the next few months, don't let him do anything more than pad work in the ring just to keep him sharp, otherwise the exciting Capt'n may well be done before he turns 30.