Huck v Afolabi III – An end to a fantastic trilogy

It was one of the most highly-anticipated months. The build-up to this fight, especially in Germany, was terrific for a cruiserweight bout. The first two fights were action packed and most were expecting it to be even bigger and better this time as they believed it may be third time lucky for Afolabi and he may have finally worked the German out. Unfortunately the fight didn’t quite live up to the hype and Afolabi didn’t get the victory some were expecting.
It was in fact Marco Huck who seemed to make improvements in this fight. The 28-year old looked fitter and fresher than ever throughout most of the fight. Them game-plan from Afolabi was clear – to save energy and then take the fight to Huck when the champion tired in the later rounds, and whilst it came close to working, Huck was a bit too smart and had too much heart.
Despite boxing at a slow pace for the first half of the fight, Afolabi actually had an impressive opener. He came out with a solid jab and just completely out-worked Huck for the first 3 minutes. Unfortunately something changed in the next round and the next few that followed. Afolabi’s work became wild and lethargic, and Huck who had clearly learned and improved from the last fight, stepped up his work rate and
brought the crowd alive.
One thing that Huck did more in this fight was throw combinations. Three straight shots seemed to be all he needed to trouble the usually elusive Afolabi. It was simple but effective stuff, and it was catching the eye of the judges. Whilst Afolabi was never badly hurt from any of these punches, he was shaken up a few times.
Round 9 was clearly the start of Afolabi’s late comeback attempt. He picked up his work rate and took the fight to the champion. He kept this up in rounds 10 and 11 and took them clearly on most people’s scorecards. You get the feeling if he would have done this a little earlier it would have had a much bigger affect on Huck and he probably would have won the fight.
But that means nothing when we look back at it in hindsight when the fight has finished. Huck showed true champion spirit in the final round with a late flurry that rocked Afolabi to his boots. Winning this round was a must for Afolabi if he even wanted this fight to be close with the judges, but unfortunately Huck had different plans. Just like the last time they met, both men planted their feet and swung bombs at each other until the final bell rang.
Alarm bells rang when the first judge scored the fight 114-114. Would we see another draw again?! Thankfully the next judge saw it the way most of us did and scored it 115-113, the fairest score of the three. The final judge from America was little biased to Huck scoring it 117-111 but its another scorecard we can’t really argue with.
After seeing how close the first two judges had it, Afolabi will surely be kicking himself for not picking up the pace a little earlier, but once again its all in heinsight.
What’s next for these two fighters is still unknown. The fight I know people want to see Huck in next is a unification bout with either Yoan Pablo Hernandez or Guillermo Jones. Although we heard in the broadcast that a rematch with Firat Arslan is the most-wanted fight in Germany. That’s a good fight, but nowhere near as big as the potential unification fights with Hernandez and Jones.
For Afolabi, the future still looks bright. He’s 33-years old but still seems fresh enough to continue fighting at the elite level – he did just go another 12 rounds with, and troubled the division No.1. If he becomes a little more active and sharpens up a few things he can definitely become world champion. On his best day I think he could beat anyone in the division.
Its hard to see these two fighters meeting again in the future. As exciting as they all were, I think three fights is enough. Afolabi may still feel like he has something to prove, but Huck will certainly not and will look to different things in the future. The WBO cruiserweight title remains in the Captain’s hands in Germany once again for at least another few months.
Cruiserweight boxing is on the rise and these two fighters are still right in the middle of the elite in the division.
By Jack Price
You can read more from Jack Price at his blog:

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