by James Slater – The cruiserweight division is currently hot and has captured the attention of fans in Britain right now; what with Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli’s crushing, 1st-round away win in Russia yesterday and the upcoming “Prize Fighter – The Cruiserweights II” tournament, set for this Friday night in London. And while 29-year-old Maccarinelli turned down a spot in the latest instalment of the Barry Hearn-promoted tournament – feeling, as he said, that the fight he took with Alexander Kotlobay was a bigger and ultimately more rewarding challenge for him – the fact remains that the “star” of Friday’s “Prize fighter” show, Herbie Hide, is one fighter we in the U.K would love to see Maccarinelli fight one day..
38-year-old Hide is favourite to win on Friday night, and a WBC cruiserweight title shot is likely for “The Dancing Destroyer” later this year if the formbook is adhered to. But I got to thinking; who has a better shot at bringing a legitimate 200-pound belt back to these shores – Hide or big Enzo? Because, while we’d like to see the two men who have in the past had some nasty things to say about one another get it on in the ring, both guys appear headed in separate “world” title directions – for now anyway.
Maccarinelli, according to well respected British pundit and author Steve Bunce, has a “world” cruiserweight champion who is “made” for him in WBO ruler Marco Huck, and Hide, if he avoids coming a cropper the day after tomorrow, will likely face the winner of the May 15th scheduled Giacobbe Fragomeni- Krzysztof Wlodarczyk clash which will go ahead in Poland. Hide, with his speed and power (he is unbeaten as a cruiser) would have a good chance against either – but more so than Maccarinelli would have against Serbian-born “Kap’n'” Huck?
Both Hide and Maccarinelli have genuine punching power, yet they each have a suspect chin to go right along with it. Part of what makes both fighters so exciting (who can predict a Hide or Maccarinelli fight with any real certainty?), these plusses and minuses can also become factors in whether or not they win; certainly at world level, where power alone will not get the job done.
I wouldn’t go as far as Bunce and call the always-improving Huck a fighter who is “made” for Maccarinelli, but I wouldn’t put any serious cash on Hide beating either Fragomeni or Wlodarczyk either. To answer the question posed in the title of this article – I think the odds are actually against either Brit bringing a belt home. Why? Firstly, because I have a strong feeling Hide, who says Friday’s “Prize Fighter” will be nothing more than a tune-up for him, will indeed get tagged on that unreliable chin and go down in flames. And secondly, because, despite his great win last night, I feel the post-David Haye version of Maccarinelli will always “freeze” or “blow it” at world level.
Hopefully, though, one or both fighters – both of whom are basically good guys out of the ring as well as being exciting operators within it – will prove me wrong. Wouldn’t it be a great, great night if both guys, having got their hands on a significant belt at 200-pounds, would up facing each other in a massive unification scrap! But maybe that’s asking too much.