By Brady Crytzer
Over the last two years heavyweight prospect Brian Minto has filled a void. In a sport where “the good old days” seem farther than ever, the undersized heavyweight brawler has satisfied pundits who clamored for the time of Rocky Marciano and Jack Dempsey. After suffering a TKO loss to prospect Chris Arreola in December, the refocused Minto has dropped down in weight to make a run in the cruiserweight division. His first fight? WBO world champion Marco Huck. With his first career title shot looming in a brand new weight class, the rejuvenated Minto is ready for anything.
“I can see my stomach muscles now,” Minto joked. “I made a commitment to myself to lose this weight. Everything is faster now. My conditioning is the best it’s ever been and training just feels easier.”
Minto, who is training for this fight at Freddie Roach’s legendary Wild Card Gym, is not treading lightly in his new, trimmer frame. Joking that he hasn’t weighed under 200 pounds since his days at Butler High School, Minto is utilizing his new found gifts to their fullest extent. While he has weighed in less than 220 pounds for nearly every fight since 2005, Minto finally feels at home in the cruiserweight division.
“Speed is velocity and power,” Minto said. “I was afraid of losing some of my punching power, but Freddie (Roach) thinks that I hit harder than ever right now. This is a great weight for me. People think that I will be too drained come fight time, but the truth is that I’m on weight right now. I’m using the same program that Pacquiao trains with and I feel great.”
In his latest in ring appearance, Minto battled rising heavyweight star Chris Arreola. Nearly four inches shorter and outweighed by almost forty pounds, Minto was struck down in the fourth round by the highly-touted punching power of “The Nightmare.” Like any professional, Minto has taken the loss in stride, and considers the fight as a learning experience.
“Physics takes over,” Minto admitted. “When you are fight a world class heavyweight that can bang, being small is a disadvantage. He (Arreola) would just bump me and I would slide. Look at Jameel McCline. He laid down for his paycheck when he fought Chris. I gave him a good run.”
“When it comes down to it, I’ve got balls and heart. I’ll fight with everything I’ve got.”
Dropping down in weight has its advantages for a lifelong heavyweight. Where most would see Minto looking forward to capitalizing on his new found edge in power, the Butler, PA holds his in-ring experience as supreme in future cruiserweight match ups.
“My advantage is that I’ve been in with a world class puncher,” Minto explained. “It’s not to say that these cruiserweights can’t punch, but they aren’t heavyweights. I bring excitement and I hope to help cruiserweight get the recognition that it deserves.”
“Most Americans don’t know what the cruiserweight division is. You have great fighters like Steve Cunningham and BJ Flores fighting and they are hardly ever televised.”
Minto had envisioned himself in a world title fight from the beginning, but he never pictured it taking place in Germany. Fighting in his opponent’s backyard is an unfortunate experience that Minto has already been privy to. In 2006 Minto played the spoiler to German fans by stopping former world champion Axel Schultz. Now, on May 1st, he looks to do it again.
“I go into these situations as an underdog,” Minto admitted. “I’ve got everything to gain in the world here. I know that the judges’ will probably score close rounds in his favor, but I’m not worried. I’ve noticed that a lot of times he (Huck) will throw a lot of punches to try and steal rounds.”
“I’m bringing my own judges, and they’re my right and left hands.”
Awaiting Minto is WBO world cruiserweight champion Marco Huck. Born of Serbian descent and defending his title for a third time, Huck has established himself as one of the best in the world at 200 pounds. In his last in ring appearance just over six weeks ago, Huck wasted little time knocking out challenger Adam Richards. On May 1st, he looks to repeat his performance, this time against Minto.
“Huck is a strong guy,” Minto said. “I’m going to use my power advantage, but I’m not going to be stupid about it. From what I have been hearing he is going to try and knock me out. If he wants to, that’s great. He’ll be in for a hard night. I’m prepared for a dogfight.”
“Everything happens for a reason. God put this opportunity in front of me and I am taking it.”