WBC heavyweight titlist Alexander Povetkin was nearly KO'd on several occasions by WBO cruiser champion Marco Huck during their thrilling contest last night at Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany.
While Huck gave away 20 pounds to the larger Povetkin, he more than made up for it with a very big advantage in handspeed, showing from the first round that Povetkin was surprisingly easy to hit with the jab.
The first two frames featured little action but Povetkin got it together in the third, pushing Huck back with a two-fisted assault headlined by a solid left hook to the body that had the cruiserweight at a loss to deal with his adversary.
Just when it looked like Huck was on the way out in the fourth, he nailed Povetkin with a hard right hand at close quarters that had the WBC champion in deep trouble. Povetkin managed to survive but had to resort to the technique of dipping his head to knee level, prompting referee Luis Pabon to break the action.
Povetkin regrouped in the fifth and did well whenever he came forward behind the jab but the heavyweight was unable to deal at all with Huck any time the fighting came into close proximity.
Huck hit paydirt again in the seventh and ninth rounds, displaying massive power in his right hand and forcing Povetkin to rely on his dipping low strategy to survive in what was becoming a shockingly competitive bout.
Povetkin was very tired by this time but regained his composure to work behind the jab and score with the occasional right and left hook that had Huck's face swollen and bloody from two cuts but the challenger remained a threat, suddenly launching right hand bombs that rocked Povetkin.
The champion got his second wind in the eleventh, driving Huck back and taking control before running out of gas by the end of the frame and hitting Huck with a big right after the bell, only to have the shot instantly returned in kind by Huck.
The twelvfth round saw Huck land big right hands that had Povetkin on very shaky ground but somehow the exhausted Russian managed to keep his feet until the final bell.
Povetkin had been the busier fighter but had never truly troubled the smaller man while Huck had been more accurate and had clearly hurt the champion on several occasions.
When the scores were announced, Povetkin was awarded a majority decision 116-113, 116-112 and 114-114, moving to 24-0 (16), while Huck drops to 34-2 (25), despite mounting the performance of his career to date.
Expect a rematch as Povetkin must show, if he is to regain his future career prospects, that this was just a bad day against an opponent he took lightly but the other side of the coin is that Huck just might finish the job if these two share the ring again.