In the bustling Las Vegas gym where Marco Huck’s getting his hands wrapped next to a couple of jiujitsu fighters grappling on a wrestling mat, a blaring Lady Gaga tune still isn't enough to drown out various grunts of exertion.
Regardless of the song being blasted on the stereo, the number that springs to mind as Huck gets ready for a sparring session on a recent Tuesday evening is that hunk of pop Velveeta, the insidious earworm that is Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone.”
Now, under ordinary circumstances, a man who inspires a tune like that to pop into your head could only be treated with serious contempt, right up there with the guy at the bar who hits on your girlfriend the minute you get up to take a leak.
But, two things.
First, the ubiquitous ’80s hit that soundtracked Top Gun, cheesy as it remains, suits a guy like Huck, a totem of impending peril in the ring who carries himself with all the self-assured bravado of Tom Cruise’s character when he was racing warplanes on a crotch rocket.
Secondly, as a boxing fan, it’s all but impossible to hate on Huck (38-2-1, 26 KOs), one of the most consistently exciting fighters in the sport who doubles as a cannonball to the gut of caution.
“My style is very aggressive, moving forward, attacking,” Huck says, thick arms swelling out of a tank top as a member of his camp translates his native German into English. “I don’t really like to depend on the judges. I want to do it all by myself."
And he’s done it all remarkably well.
Should the 200-pound champ win his next fight, against undefeated Polish contender Krzysztof Glowacki (24-0, 15 KOs) on August 14 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, he will have sucessfully defended his title 14 times, a record for the division.
The clash with Glowacki, which opens the Spike TV broadcast at 9 p.m. ET, is also significant in that it’s Huck first fight in America after mostly campaigning in his homeland, where’s he become a marquee attraction.
His game plan for Glowacki?
Find him. Smash him. Repeat.
Not a whole lot of X's and O's to dissect here.
“I don’t really know too much about my opponent and I don’t really care about him,” Huck says. “I’ve already proven myself against numerous opponents. The same thing will happen with Glowacki: His head will get smashed in.”
It won’t all be more of the same for Huck when he takes on Glowacki. He’ll have a new face in his corner: Vegas-based trainer Don House, who Huck turned to after splitting with longtime trainer Ulli Wegner.
Huck turned to House after parting ways with former promoter Sauerland Events, who Wegner had an exclusive contract with.
With Huck, House is trying to strike a balance between brawn and brains.
His advice: “Just settle down and start picking your shots instead of just letting everything go,” House says. “I still want him to be aggressive, but I want him to slow down and think more. He’s already strong, has a great jab, great combinations.”
Huck’s been receptive to House’s teachings thus far.
“I’ve been learning a lot of new things, developing great,” he says. “I’ve already perfected the German style of boxing, now I’m mixing it with the American style, which is going to lead to even more excitement.”
And that’s really what it all comes down to for Huck: putting on a show, even if it means putting himself squarely in harm’s way.
“At some point, I just throw everything out of the way—tactics, whatever—and stand there and punch. I’m not going to bore people,” he says. “I want to be entertaining. I want to give the crowd their money’s worth. I enjoy it. There’s nothing that I’d rather do than be in the ring.”