Michael Rosenthal

Ring Ratings Update: Hernandez, Cunningham will fight for RING title

Marco Huck has done Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Steve Cunningham a favor.

Huck, THE RING’s No. 1-rated cruiserweight as of last week, has decided to move up to heavyweight and face Alexander Povetkin for what the WBA calls its “regular” title on Feb. 25 in Stuttgart, Germany.

Huck reportedly has said he might return to the cruiserweight division for a rematch with Denis Lebedev. And he apparently retains his WBO cruiserweight title, at least for the moment. However, he also has said he wants to fight one of the Klitschko brothers if he can get past Povetkin.

In other words, there’s no telling what the future holds for Huck. All we know for sure is that he’s out of the cruiserweight picture for the time being.

Meanwhile, Hernandez and Cunningham –THE RING’s Nos. 2- and 3-rated cruiserweights, respectively – are scheduled to fight one another in a rematch on Feb. 4 in Frankfurt.

Thus, we were faced with a decision to make. Do we keep Huck at No. 1 because he might return to the cruiserweight division depending on what happens on Feb. 25? Or do we follow his lead and allow Hernandez and Cunningham to fight for the vacant RING championship?

THE RING Editorial Board decided that the latter made more sense. Huck will be removed from the cruiserweight ratings, and Hernandez and Cunningham will be elevated to Nos. 1 and 2, which positions them to fight for the magazine’s title.

Huck’s future is in his own hands. If he beats No. 2-rated Povetkin, he almost certainly will enter the heavyweight ratings and probably wouldn’t move back down because he can make more money as  a heavyweight.

And if he loses and chooses to return to cruiserweight, he can expect to re-enter the 200-pound ratings if he wins his first fight back.

One thing to think about, though: It might not be easy for him to move back down. Huck reportedly plans to pack on considerable weight to face Povetkin. And once a fighter does that, it’s difficult to turn back and remain effective.

We’ll see how this bold move by the Serbian-born German plays out.

In the meantime, we can look forward to a compelling fight for THE RING championship between Hernandez and Cunningham.

Hernandez, a Cuban living in Germany, took Cunningham’s IBF title by a controversial sixth-round technical (split) decision on Nov. 1 in Neubrandenburg. The fight was stopped because of cuts Hernandez suffered from accidental head butts. The IBF later ruled that the cuts weren’t bad enough to stop the fight and ordered a rematch.

Cunningham fought once for the vacant RING cruiserweight championship, losing a split decision to Tomasz Adamek in December 2008. Adamek gave up the title the following February to campaign at heavyweight.

It has been vacant ever since.

RING RATINGS UPDATE

Cruiserweight: Huck (No. 1 last week) is removed from the cruiserweight ratings because he has moved up in weight, which allows the other nine rated fighters to move up one notch each.

Unbeaten Pole Mateusz Masternak (24-0, 18 KOs) enters at No. 10. 

UP NEXT

Rated fighters in action this coming weekend (with current ratings)

Heavyweight: Kubrat Pulev (No. 10) vs. Michael Sprott (Saturday)

Super middleweight: Robert Stieglitz (No. 4) vs. Henry Weber (Saturday)
                                  Arthur Abraham (No. 9) vs. Pablo Farias (Saturday)

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