The world of boxing traditionally takes a hiatius from the upper echelon of fights in December and into the new year but 2014 has a pair of January bouts on the slate that have lines up right now at the sportbooks. Cruiserweight World Champion Marco Huck (-425) is favored over Firat Arslan (+335) in their rematch, while Lucian Bute (+125) is an underdog to Jean Pascal (-145) in their Light Heavyweight bout.
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The line on Huck has narrowed a bit, as in mid December Huck was a nearly 5 to 1 favorite. this is the second meeting between the two fighters, and Huck won a relatively close (115-113, 115-113 and 117-111) decision. The fight is in Germany, which is Huck’s home territory and the thinking is that the is incredibly unlikely to take a loss on the cards in his home territory. Arslan will be game however, and the southpaw has the type of game that with a few minor adjustments and some luck, good get through against Huck.
The line on Bute versus Pascal light heavyweight match up has not really changed since mid-December, as the books continue to slightly favor Pascal. Pascal has put together 2 wins since going 0-1-1 in two bouts with future hall of fame Bernard Hopkins, while Bute has won once since taking his first career loss to Britian’s Carl Froch. In that match, where Bute took out Denis Grachev, he won the NABF light Heavyweight title, signalling his movement up the ladder of weight classes. for his part, Pascal has spent nearly five years already competing at Light Heavyweight, and his combination of skill level and size is going to be a challenge for Bute.
But one thing that cannot be counted out is Bute’s desire to stay on top. For all his legendary skill, Hopkins is a 48 year old and Pascal could not break through for a win. since then, there has been a drop off in competition level as he notched wins, so Bute represents a return to the top opponents for Pascal as well.