On May 11th, 2012 Alexander Alekseev unexpectedly went to war with Firat Arslan in the first defense of his EBU cruiserweight title. Although ahead on my unofficial card, Alekseev had to settle for a majority draw. The only official score rendered for either fighter came from judge Juergen Langos, who scored it 116-113 Alekseev.
It was honestly one of the best cruiserweight fights I've seen all year, and I've seen a lot. But still, Alekseev had to be disappointed that he merely drew with a then 41 year old man, 10 years his senior. Arslan hadn't won (or drew) a meaningful bout in over 4 years, unless you consider avenging an early career loss to Lubos Suda relevant. The draw has since catapulted Arslan into a big money fight for a world title against Marco Huck on November 3, while Alekseev must now defend his EBU title against Mateusz Masternak. Masternak is a 25 year old undefeated Polish fighter with a 75% KO ratio. He's fresh off an impressive stoppage victory over previously unbeaten Spaniard David Quinonero, who had a 96% KO ratio.
Against Huck, Arslan has nothing to lose. He's going to make a lot of money and get the chance to make a whole lot more in the miracle that he wins. The purse bid for Alekseev-Masternak however is reportedly only 80,000 Euros, which as of today comes out to about $103,248 (US). This is very much a pick-em fight and the prospects of Alekseev's money potential does not bode well for him should he lose, or even draw again. Once a highly regarded prospect out of the amateurs, Alekseev had turned many eyes away after stoppage defeats to Victor Emilio Ramirez and Denis Lebedev.
Fortunately after a career saving win over Enad Licina, he appeared on track to right the ship. Yet, even though Arslan was a product of careful matchmaking, some would say Alekseev was lucky to not lose. Masternak on the other hand is about as tough an opponent Alekseev could be given without rendering him a heavy underdog. Both fighters should treat this as the biggest fight of their careers. Who wants it more may very well be the deciding factor in who wins. The only winners I'm confident to predict now are boxing fans.