Former undisputed light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver has been yelling at anybody within ear shot about one day capturing the heavyweight title. His intention is to break George Foreman’s record of being the oldest man to do so, but after his fight on Friday night, that dream will have to wait a little longer.
Tarver headlined the Premier Boxing Champions’s PBC on Spike card from inside the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., but he nor his opponent, Steve Cunningham, could do enough to win, with the fight ending in a split draw. Both fighters were never in danger of being knocked off his feet -- let alone knocked out -- as the two patiently stalked each other for the duration of their 12-round affair.
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Neither fighter seemed too eager to seize control, either, leaving plenty to be desired aesthetically. Though Cunningham’s right eye was swollen almost shut by the end, he didn’t absorb the sort of punishment that would tell otherwise. Virtually the entire contest was a back-and-forth, which elicited dozens of negative outbursts from the crowd. Even with the fight’s outcome hanging in the balance going into the 12th, the two traded jabs in what seemed like slow motion. Neither exhibited a sense of urgency.
Both Tarver (31-6-1, 22 KOs) and the Philadelphia-born Cunningham traded hundreds of verbal jabs at each other in the weeks leading up to their bout and the trash talk continued as both pugilist stood side-by-side waiting for the judges’ verdict to be announced. Cunningham (28-7-1, 13 KOs) appeared to be convinced that he had won, but Tarver, who was the first man to truly defeat the great Roy Jones Jr., didn’t exude as much confidence.
As it turned out, the “Magic Man” was correct. One judge had it 115-113 for Cunningham, while the second saw it in favor of the Floridian 115-114. Those scores were nullified when the third judge had it 114-114. The ruling was more than justified. There were several rounds that could have gone either way.
In a wild affair to kick of the Spike TV telecast, defending WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck was looking to set the all-time record with 14 consecutive defenses. He tied the record held by Johnny Nelson by outpointing Mirko Larghetti last August, but his historic night was shelved when he tangled with undefeated Polish bruiser Krzysztof Glowacki.
The two combatants electrified the crowd by tearing into each other for much of their battle and both men were rocked throughout. Glowacki started off strong by taking the fight to the champ, but Huck, a notoriously slow starter, eventually began to find his rhythm in the middle rounds.
The Serbian-born Berlin resident almost took out Glowacki in the sixth when he leveled him with a sweeping overhand left. Once the punch landed, Glowacki crumbled and it appeared as though he was going to be counted out. But Glowacki displayed the courage of 20 firemen and somehow climbed to his feet. Glowacki was out but able to convince referee Dave Fields that he could continue, and he almost paid the price. Huck rushed at his woozy foe. Glowacki, either too brave or too wobbly to clinch, swung frantically to survive. Huck was relentless though, nailing Glowacki with several shots to the head and body. Glowacki hung tough and remained upright until he was saved by the bell.
Glowacki eventually cleared his head and kept the champion away, but Huck had already snatched complete control of the action. Glowacki continued to try and take the fight to Huck, but Marco had already turned the tides in his favor. From there, it turned into an exciting, albeit one-sided boxing match dominated by Huck.
By the time the championship rounds rolled around, Glowacki was officially way behind on all three ringside scorecards. He had no choice but to push forward. All Huck had to do was use his jab and distance. Glowacki made him fight in the trenches, but Huck was still the one landing the harder, cleaner shots.
That was, of course, until disaster struck.
In a desperate leap of faith, the potent Pole leaped in with a loopy left over the top. It exploded on Huck’s head, stiffening the champ. Glowacki was already firing off a follow-up right and it detonated on Huck’s mouth. Huck (38-3-1, 26 KOs) instantly fell and even though there was about 30 seconds left in the 11th, it seemed an eternity for someone knocked senseless.
Huck battled back to his feet but when the fight resumed Glowacki was all over him, swinging with crushing power. A monster left to the jaw sagged Huck into a corner and Krzystof never stopped pounding away until his barrage knocked Huck down and almost through the ropes. Fields immediately rushed in and waved it over at 2:39.
The win allowed Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs) to capture his first world title, ending Huck’s six-year reign and ending any hopes of breaking Nelson’s record.
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