Slammin' in Stuttgart, the Big Boys Deliver Again
|Written by Phil Woolever|
|Monday, 27 February 2012 10:04|
DUSSELDORF - For the second straight weekend in Germany, heavyweight boxing has exceeded expectations with an exciting, hard fought contest between top fighters in the division. Alexander Povetkin's raucous rumble with a surprising, inspired Marco Huck provided plenty of good action.
The crowd in ESPRIT Arena here will number well over 35,000 as the scene in these parts remains vibrant, with numerous big bouts on the Western Europe horizon.
That doesn't mean everything was peachy in Stuttgart. Storm clouds remained after last week's Munich meltdowns.
It's often amusing for me to hear perspectives on the merits of this heavyweight generation (ie: Euro/Germany area) compared to the much more respectably referred to '80s performers (ie: US).
I'm certainly not flawless regarding predictions or perspective. I am, however, one of the very few ringside observers to have seen both the Holmes/Tyson/Spinks/Witherspoon/Holyfield/Lewis era's elite many times, and the current Euro crop in person.
Since many US journalists have never seen any of the Euros like Povetkin, Huck, Denis Boytsov or Robert Helenius in live action, I do feel quite qualified to tell you that the perceived wide gap in talent, much of it from a US based viewpoint, is considerably less than completely accurate.
However you scored Povetkin - Huck, it looked like a nice, level playing field between the Sauerland "stablemates", though going in it looked like Huck had more promotional connections. His corner wore matching Team Sauerland gear.
Povetkin started well, but when Huck made the battle a mosh pit he improved his chances. Many of his punches landed atop or behind Povetkin's ears. They may have been of borderline propriety but they were doubtless still jarring. Huck was reckless but persistent and it paid off.
When Huck gained mid-fight momentum you could almost hear the cross-Atlantic murmurs about Povetkin missing Teddy Atlas, but actually, new head cornerman Alex Zimin seemed to be giving Povetkin decent advice about staying busier inside and employing more of his technical edge.
Whether or not, or how much, Atlas might have helped was a moot point. Huck came to win. He was a tough out on this night, and that's for almost anybody, any era.
By the 8th round, Povetkin huffed and puffed like he was out of gloved up gas, but he kept rumbling. By the 10th, Povetkin had, typically, gotten his second wind and surged back as Huck's eyes began to bruise.
Both men wobbled from weariness in the 11th. Povetkin scored with multiple lefts as each man landed big rights after the bell. The 12th was another wild session.
Povetkin and Huck put on a great show. A rematch, potentially lucrative for both, seems an obvious priority.
Does Hasim Rahman really deserve the shot at Povetkin before Huck gets another chance? Rahman did shock Lewis. Ten years ago.
Is Rahman an ironic representative of past USA heavyweight glory, coming up symbolically against current European dominance?
That's a promotional issue that may be exploited.
Meanwhile, it is still, clearly, a K2 world in terms of the heavyweight division.
Meanwhile, Povetkin and Huck proved there are still some interesting factors to be considered.
The more things change for the heavyweights these days, the more they remain the same, and maybe that's not so bad after all.