Krzysztof Glowacki makes quite a first impression: Weekend Review
Krzysztof Glowacki: As introductions go, this was a dramatic one. The unbeaten Polish cruiserweight had never fought outside his country or faced a 200-pounder of note before he stepped into the ring to challenge WBO titleholder Marco Huck on Friday in Newark, New Jersey. In other words, we had no idea what to expect from him. When Glowacki went down and was hurt in Round 6, many viewers undoubtedly thought, “OK, this seems about right. A middle-rounds knockout for Huck.” Then Glowacki made it clear that he had different intentions. He managed to get up at the count of 8, indicated he was OK and stood toe to toe with Huck, who tried to complete the kill. There would be no killing. At least not yet. We learned later that Huck was leading on all cards going into the 11th round but that didn’t matter. With less than a minute remaining, Glowacki, a southpaw, landed a left to the chin followed by a right to the head and Huck – badly hurt – went down hard. He got up but Glowacki followed with a vicious barrage with Huck’s backside against and then through the ropes, prompting referee David Fields to end the fight 21 seconds before the end of the round. The Pole (25-0, 16 knockouts) had become a world titleholder but, more important, he turned in the kind of performance on a big stage that fans remember – rising from a brutal knockdown (the first his career) to win a fight he was losing by a spectacular knockout over a respected champion. Doesn’t get much better than that. Welcome to the world of elite fighters, Krzysztof.
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Marco Huck: The timing of this setback couldn’t have been worse for Huck (38-3-1, 26 KOs). It was his first fight as his own co-promoter – working with Lou DiBella – after parting ways with Sauerland Event in Germany. He was trained for the first time by Don House after leaving Ulli Wegner. He was making the 14th defense of the title he won by outpointing Victor Ramirez in 2009, which would’ve been a division record. The loss leaves him tied at 13 successful defenses with Johnny Nelson. And Huck was making his U.S. debut. He and his handlers expected a big statement from their man on a very big night for him. Instead, he is in the unusual position of having to bounce back from a brutal knockout loss. I think he’ll be fine. He looked good for 10 rounds and two minutes against an opponent who was better than most of us had imagined. He has been consistent throughout his career. He hadn’t lost a cruiserweight fight since he was stopped by Steve Cunningham in 2007, a string of 20 bouts before he met Glowacki, and almost beat Alexander Povetkin in a one-fight foray into the heavyweight division in 2012. And he’s only 30. I expect a hungrier-than-ever Huck to return to the gym soon to begin preparation for his next fight. Whether that’s a rematch with Glawacki or a meeting with another 200-pounder, his next opponent also had better be prepared.
I don’t have much to say about the less-than-compelling Steve Cunningham–Antonio Tarver draw, the main event Friday in Newark. I understand the fighters’ motivation: Their careers are drawing to a close; they want one more shot at big money. I just can’t summon any enthusiasm for either one of them. They’re marginal heavyweights at best and neither is particularly fun to watch, as they demonstrated on Friday. I do feel badly for Cunningham (28-7-1, 13 KOs), one of the good guys in boxing. He came up just short for the umpteenth time in an important fight, which has to be deflating. Tarver (31-6-1, 22 KOs) is 46. The clock is ticking loudly for him. ÔÇª Lucian Bute (32-2, 25 KOs) had reason to be pleased after he knocked out Andrea Di Luisa (17-3, 13 KOs) on Saturday in Montreal. He was fighting for the first time since he lost a one-sided decision to Jean Pascal in January of last year, which followed a knockout loss to Carl Froch two fights earlier. His career was in serious jeopardy. That’s why he was so happy after he stopped Di Luisa in the fourth round in front of his adopted-hometown fans. “I’m back!” he yelled afterward. That might be a stretch. A victory over Di Luisa, an unheralded, light-punching Italian, is a baby step that proves very little. At the same time, the victory pointed him in the right direction and boosted his confidence. It was a productive night for Bute. ÔÇª I expected more out of unbeaten light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez (18-0, 10 KOs) in his fight against Isidro Prieto (24-1-3, 20 KOs) on the Bute-Di Luisa card. The Colombian native, who fights out of Montreal, found it difficult to handle Prieto’s aggression and was hurt a few times. The good news is that he remained unbeaten by a unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 117-111. ÔÇª It’s sad to see Glen Johnson (54-21-2, 37 KOs), a once terrific fighter who is 46 and has lost his last three fights. He lost a decision to neophyte Avni Yildirim (6-0, 4 KOs) on Saturday in Miami. Then again, who am I to judge a man who is doing what he loves to do?