Fatherhood has helped New York native drown out distractions as the 2012 U.S. Olympian prepares for another big fight in his backyard this Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It only takes one look at a fight involving light heavyweight Marcus Browne to conclude he’s for real. Browne is a superior athlete who possesses speed, balance, punching power, footwork, reflexes, ring knowledge and instincts.
All of these attributes will be on display Saturday night when Browne attempts to take the next step towards a world title with a victory over highly-respected Canadian Francy Ntetu.
Browne (20-0-0, 15 knockouts) is favored to leave the ring at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. still unbeaten as a pro, so much so, that he’s been bombarded with questions about his thoughts on facing current titleholders or other high-ranking contenders.
Out of courtesy, the Staten Island native—whose fight will stream live on Showtime Boxing’s Facebook page and Showtime Sports’ YouTube channel at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT (main card featuring two title fights airs on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)—has provided answers. But every one of his responses should be taken with a grain of salt.
At the moment, he isn’t giving any thought to who he might be facing later this year. The only person on Browne’s mind these days is Ntetu (17-1-0, 4 KOs)—whose lone loss is to 168-pound champion David Benavidez.
“I’m not looking past him; I’m not looking past him at all,” said Brown, who has fought a record 12 times at Barclays Center. “He’s right in front of me. He’s the guy who’s in my way, so I have to take care of business.
“I take nothing for granted. When people ask me about title this and title that, I’m not getting there if I don’t beat Francy the way I’m supposed to. That’s all I’m focused on.”
It’s this mindset, this approach that has played a major role in Browne’s continued improvement as a fighter and has convinced many to label him a surefire future champion. What brought about Browne’s change?
Natural progression: A combination of physical and mental maturation. Browne is now 27; he’s physically bigger, stronger, faster and possesses more knowledge inside the ring. But it’s what’s fight fans can’t see physically that is having the greatest positive impact on Browne’s championship future—mental growth.
“ I take nothing for granted. When people ask me about title this and title that, I’m not getting there if I don’t beat Francy the way I’m supposed to. That’s all I’m focused on. ” Unbeaten 175-pound 2012 U.S. Olympian Marcus Browne
Two years ago, Brown became a father of two children—daughter, Milani, and son, Massiah. Since their births, Browne’s priorities have shifted significantly. His drive to be the light heavyweight champion of the world is no longer fueled by individual gratification, but by a desire to provide security for his children, while offering an example of how focus and hard work can make dreams a reality.
When Browne goes to the gym these days, it’s not just about preparation; he’s absorbing everything his trainers are dispensing to him. Nothing they impart—intellectual or physical—goes to waste. As a result, Browne has developed into a solid father, a mature adult and a future light heavyweight champion.
“As a man, I don’t live for myself anymore, I live for my kids,” Browne said. “It’s the same thing with fighting, I’m fighting for them and their futures, it’s not just about my future. They look up to me; I’m their dad. That in itself is a motivating factor.
“I’m a lot more settled. Believing (and knowing more) about the things going on in the gym and what my trainers are passing on to me. I’m more focused on the game plan and implementing it on fight night.
“I’ve found a good recipe with my trainers. And we’re continuing to grow and sticking to things. We’re doing new things while sticking to the basics.”
Saturday night, fans will still see another element of Browne’s ability few people have paid much attention to—his defense. Ntetu is a very active fighter. But Browne isn’t an easy fighter to hit flush. He isn’t a standstill boxer.
Browne constantly moves his head, rolls with punches and keeps his hands up. He knows, talent-wise, that the advantages are in his favor. But he isn’t taking Ntetu lightly.
“Exactly! That’s it: being sure about yourself. Being settled and taking care of business the right way. I’m not just going in there to knock a guy out,” he said.
“He’s a very durable guy, a live guy. Even in his loss, he didn’t stop fighting. Like I always say, with a guy like (Francy), you have to convince him that he doesn’t want to be in the ring with you. And the way to do that is to take your time, take care of business and do the things we’ve been working on in the gym.”
- Marcus Browne