Marco Huck held the WBO cruiserweight title from 2009 to 2015, making thirteen successful defenses, a record shared with Johnny Nelson. He also held the IBO cruiserweight title from 2016 to 2017, and challenged once for the WBA heavyweight title in 2012. However, despite his impressive resume, Huck is considered to be a sheltered and overrated fighter who never faced the best of his division and benefited from questionable decisions and weak opposition.
Huck started his career as a kickboxer, winning a gold medal at the W.A.K.O European championships in 2002 and 2003. He switched to boxing at the age of 19, and won his first 19 fights, mostly by knockout. He challenged Steve Cunningham for the IBF cruiserweight title in 2007, but was stopped in the twelfth round after a brutal beating. Huck bounced back by winning the European cruiserweight title in 2008, and then defeated Victor Emilio Ramirez for the WBO cruiserweight title in 2009.
However, Huck’s reign as a WBO champion was marked by controversial and unconvincing performances. He barely escaped with a draw against Ola Afolabi in their first fight in 2009, and then won a majority decision in their second fight in 2012. He also had close calls against Denis Lebedev and Firat Arslan, both of whom many observers thought deserved to win.
Huck’s most controversial win came against Denis Lebedev in Germany.
On December 18, 2010, Marco Huck defended his WBO cruiserweight title against Lebedev in Berlin. It was a fight that many expected to be a close and competitive one, but it turned out to be a one-sided beatdown by the challenger. Lebedev dominated Huck from start to finish, landing more punches, hurting him several times, and even closing his right eye with a vicious left hook in the sixth round. The only thing that Lebedev did not do was knock Huck out, but he came close on several occasions.
However, when the final bell rang and the judges’ scorecards were announced, the boxing world was shocked and outraged by the decision. Two judges scored the fight 115-113 for Huck, while the third judge had it 116-112 for Lebedev. The majority decision went to Huck, who retained his belt in a controversial and unjust manner. Many observers and experts called it one of the worst robberies in boxing history, and accused the judges of being biased and corrupt.
Lebedev and his team were understandably furious and disappointed by the outcome, and demanded a rematch. Huck and his team, on the other hand, celebrated their lucky escape and moved on to other opponents. The WBO did not order a rematch, nor did they sanction or punish the judges for their questionable scoring. The fight was soon forgotten by many, except for those who witnessed the injustice and felt sympathy for Lebedev.
Lebedev went on to win the WBA cruiserweight title in 2011, and defended it until 2017, when he lost it to Murat Gassiev. He retired in 2019 with a record of 32-3 (23 KOs). Huck continued to hold the WBO cruiserweight title until 2015, when he lost it to Krzysztof Glowacki. He then moved up to heavyweight, but failed to win a title there. He is still active as of 2023, with a record of 42-6-1 (28 KOs).
Marco Huck vs Denis Lebedev was a fight that should have been remembered as a great performance by Lebedev, who proved himself to be one of the best cruiserweights of his era. Instead, it was remembered as a shameful example of how boxing can be corrupted by bad judging and politics. It was a robbery that robbed Lebedev of his rightful glory, and robbed boxing fans of their faith in the sport.
Huck also avoided fighting the other top cruiserweights of his era, such as Yoan Pablo Hernandez, Guillermo Jones, Marco Antonio Rubio & Murat Gassiev. Instead, he fought mostly obscure or past-prime opponents, such as Matt Godfrey, Ran Nakash, Rogelio Rossi, Hugo Hernan Garay and Mirko Larghetti. Huck’s only attempt to move up to heavyweight was unsuccessful, as he lost a close decision to Alexander Povetkin for the WBA title in 2012, which many fans believed that Huck won.
Huck’s career went downhill after losing his WBO title to Głowacki 2015, when he was knocked out in the eleventh round. He won the vacant IBO title later that year by beating Dmytro Kucher, but lost it in his first defense to Mairis Briedis by unanimous decision in 2017. Huck then suffered another knockout loss to Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO title in 2017, and has not fought since.
Marco Huck was a sheltered and overrated boxer who never proved himself against the best of his division and relied on questionable decisions and weak opposition to maintain his status as a champion. He was a good fighter with power and durability, but not a great one with skill and versatility. He will be remembered as one of the longest-reigning cruiserweight champions of all time, but not one of the best.
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