Steve Cunningham gets a chance to become a four-time cruiserweight titlist on February 4. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Sauerland Event has booked the IBF-mandated rematch between Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Steve Cunningham for February 4 in Frankfurt, Germany, ESPN.com's Dan Rafael reports.
The first fight between the two on October 1 was highly controversial, as referee Mickey Vann stopped the bout after six rounds on the advice of the ringside physician. The cuts Cunningham had suffered, due to a headbutt, were really not affecting his ability to fight, and the IBF ruled that the stoppage was incorrect as the physician had said the fights might interfere with Cunningham, not that they actually were interfering.
Scores for the fight were 59-54, 58-55, and 56-57, giving Hernandez (25-1, 13 KO) a technical split decision win. The scores, too, were called into question, particularly the absurd 59-54 card for Hernandez. At the time of stoppage, Bad Left Hook had it 57-56 for Cunningham, who had rallied to take over the fight after a first round knockdown, and seemed on his way to victory as Hernandez began to fade.
Cunningham (24-3, 12 KO) is 35 years old and definitely starting to slide a little bit, but is still a top cruiserweight, as is Hernandez. With Marco Huck planning to test the waters at heavyweight, the fight has as good an argument as any for the best bout that can be made in the division.
On the undercard, the vacant European cruiserweight title will be contested, as Enad Licina (21-3, 11 KO) meets Alexander Alexeev (22-2, 20 KO). Alexeev is one of the division's biggest punchers, and if he's gotten himself righted, could once again become a truly dangerous contender in the division.
European light heavyweight champ Eduard Gutknecht (22-1, 9 KO) will also be in action, facing Vyacheslav Uzelkov (25-1, 16 KO). American fans may remember Uzelkov from a disappointing Friday Night Fights appearance against Beibut Shumenov in summer 2010. He's gone 3-0 against nobodies since that fight.
The card will be televised in the United Kingdom via BoxNation, assuming Sauerland's deal with Frank Warren continues.