BERLIN GERMANY - DECEMBER 18: Nicolai Firtha (L) of USA and Alexander Povetkin (R) of Russia exchange punches during their Heavyweight fight at Max-Schmeling Hall on December 18 2010 in Berlin Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
In Berlin, Marco Huck defended his cruiserweight title against mandatory and Ring #4 ranked challenger Denis Lebedev. In a fight with a lot of close rounds, Huck managed to squeak by with a split decision.
In what may be a surprise to some, Lebedev actually spent the entire fight moving forward, and Huck was backed down by Lebedev almost every minute of the fight. The early rounds were mostly very close, with Lebedev throwing more punches and doing a nice amount of body work, but with Huck landing the flashier shots. The lead overhand right was Huck's weapon of choice early, and he couldn't really miss with it, while Lebedev was able to land hooks to the body at will.
In the sixth, a real fight finally broke out, teasing fans into the type of fight it looked like it might become on paper. Unfortunately, that flurry of activity appeared to wear out Huck, and Lebedev carried the next few rounds rather easily. Lebedev also made the adjustment to avoid the overhand right, and put on a counterpunching clinic whenever Huck tried to lead with it.
In the late rounds, Huck picked back up the pace and started to turn it into a typical, dirty Marco Huck fight. He was then able to land some decent shots, but Lebedev was throwing much, much more than Huck and still landing his fair share of punches. In what may have been the nail in the coffin had the fight been on foreign soil, Huck took the last round off, choosing to dance around the ring (literally) more than throw punches.
Ultimately, the scores were 115-113, 115-113 and 112-116 in favor of Huck. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 116-112 for Lebedev. While this wasn't an outright robbery due in large part to the closeness of so many early rounds, it certainly was a hometown decision.
On the undercard, Alexander Povetkin beat Nicolai Firtha by unanimous decision. While he's definitely a different fighter than he was before picking up Teddy Atlas as a trainer, it's hard to say if he's actually a better fighter. He obviously outboxed Firtha, who is worse than the people Povetkin was beating ten fights into his career, but Firtha was able to have his moments, and he never really bothered a guy who was knocked out in six by Tye Fields.
Also on the undercard, Yoan Pablo Hernandez became the mandatory challenger for the cruiserweight title held by Guillermo Jones, knocking out Ali Ismailov in one. Hernandez landed what appeared to be a half punch / half shove that sent Ismailov through the ropes, and it was called a knockout when Ismailov couldn't get up by the count of ten.