While some of Marcus Browne’s 2012 U.S. Olympic teammates have already fought for—and won—world championships, the unbeaten 175-pound contender has patiently waited for his time to come.
The 26-year-old native of Staten Island, New York, has competed in his home state in 12 of his 19 professional bouts, with all but one of those fights occurring at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
It was in Cincinnati in his last fight in February, though, where the 6-foot-1½ southpaw continued to elevate his status in the 175-pound division. Browne dropped former title challenger Thomas Williams Jr. three times on his way to earning a sixth-round knockout.
Along with Browne’s first-round KO of former world titleholder Gabriel Campillo in September 2015, the stoppage of Williams marked his legitimacy as a potential champion.
Now Marcus Browne (19-0, 14 KOs) is being asked to put a friendship aside for his next fight on July 15, when he will take on decadelong sparring partner Seanie Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs) in a 10-round bout on the Omar Figueroa Jr.-Robert Guerrero undercard at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, New York (FOX, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
With yet another hometown fight coming up, Browne took a break from training to discuss his standing among his fellow Olympians, the importance of his KO of Williams and how he sees his fight with Monaghan playing out.
What do you think about the recent success of southpaw champions such as Errol Spence Jr., Gervonta Davis, Gary Russell Jr. and Adonis Stevenson?
I guess it’s the year and the time of the southpaws. That’s what I’m feeling and that’s exactly what’s going on. It’s crazy how many southpaws are champions right now. It’s ridiculous and a motivator for me.
Do you use your 2012 U.S. Olympic teammates as a barometer for your own career, especially with Spence now having a world title at 147 pounds, Rau’shee Warren being a former titleholder at 118, and heavyweight Dominic Breazeale and cruiserweight Michael Hunter having challenged for titles?
Of course. These guys are like my brothers, especially with Errol Spence winning. If it didn’t motivate me I’d be a hater. I love to see my guys win and I’m so excited for Errol to return home, relax and enjoy his family.
I spoke to Errol about three weeks before his fight, and he was so hyped up. Everybody has their own time, so I’m not in a rush for a world title fight. But I’m on the cusp. I just have to take care of business, so that’s what I’m focused on.
With all three of you being southpaws, did you pick up anything from Adonis Stevenson’s knockout of Thomas Williams Jr. last July that helped you in your sixth-round stoppage of Williams in February?
Well, I saw that Thomas Williams couldn’t seem to get out of the way of a left hand, so my thing was just to be left-hand crazy. That worked, because he literally does not get out of the way of the left hand. He was right in front of it all night.
I’m not sure if that was how he was raised and taught as a fighter, but he did nothing to get out of the way of it, and I was able to set it up and basically land it at will. Plus, I had figured out from watching some of his other fights that he gives up after a few rounds.
If things are not going his way, Williams’ body language and mentality change. We game-planned around that. He wanted to mix it up, but we didn’t give that to him. We boxed his shoes off until he got frustrated and gave up, and I knocked him out.
Did you feel a need to redeem yourself in that bout after you were knocked down in an eight-round split decision over Radivoje Kalajdzic in your previous fight?
Honestly, for the fight against Thomas Williams, I felt like I was the B side because I was coming off a hiccup of a performance and basically, he was more of the veteran in the situation. Williams was the more experienced guy on paper.
There was definitely a lot of trash-talking on the part of Williams about knocking me out. He thought he was going to blow me out of the water, but I showed him that I’m on a mission. I used my jab in an effective manner and systematically broke him down.
“ [Seanie Monaghan will] have the home-court advantage and the Irish fans coming out. I know that his fans are going to hate me, but those people cannot fight for him. ” Unbeaten 175-pound contender Marcus Browne, on his July 15 fight in Long Island, New York
This will be just your second time fighting in New York someplace other than Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, where you are 11-0 with seven KOs. How much do you like fighting there?
Barclays is definitely home, and it’s always a great feeling to fight in front of your friends and family. But I’m not where I want to be yet, so the most important thing is to focus on the guy in front of you and the task at hand.
I would love to keep the knockout streak going, especially in New York, but I just want to keep my record clean in general. So, it’s not about me being 13-0 in New York but about me being 20-0 when this fight is over.
How much of a local rivalry is there between you and Monaghan with you being from Staten Island and him from nearby Long Beach?
There was never an in-state rivalry between myself and Seanie because when I was coming up, I was the man. We never crossed paths in the ring, but we have sparred countless rounds.
He’ll have the home-court advantage and the Irish fans coming out. I know that his fans are going to hate me, but those people cannot fight for him. It’s going to be the two of us in the ring.
I look at it like when Floyd Mayweather went to Atlantic City and beat the shit out of Arturo Gatti. Gatti in Atlantic City was like Mike Tyson in Las Vegas. That night, Floyd Mayweather beat Arturo Gatti to a pulp.
That’s exactly what’s going to happen to Seanie in our fight. I’d say Seanie is going no more than nine rounds. Hopefully, this next fight will be a definitive knockout because I’m going to break this kid up. He’s not going past the ninth, plain and simple.
How do you rank the top fighters in the 175-pound division?
I’m going to say Andre Ward is No. 1 and I’m No. 2. I don’t care who is next. Andre is a 2004 Olympic gold medalist who hasn’t lost since he was 13, and I’m a 2012 Olympian. Andre Ward is the man—plain and simple.
With Sergey Kovalev, you can’t give a guy like Andre Ward a second chance. If you can’t beat him the first time, the second time is going to be worse for you. I saw Andre winning a lot easier in the second fight with the adjustments he makes.
I saw Adonis Stevenson beating Andrzej Fonfara again, and then I see me fighting Adonis Stevenson. I would like to be able to fight a Nathan Cleverly for a title, but right now, I’m focused on Seanie. If I don’t take care of business, I won’t get to a title shot.
What fighter in history would you most like to have fought, and what would be the result?
I would like to have fought Roy Jones Jr. in his prime, like in the late 1990s or the early 2000s. That fight would probably go the same way as the second Antonio Tarver fight. I would land a clean left hand and knock him the hell out.
That’s the only way to beat Roy Jones at that time. Otherwise, you’re not beating him. The only reason Antonio Tarver won was because he was a lefty and the left hand came from an angle Roy wasn’t expecting.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, what actor would do the best job portraying you?
I would say Aldis Hodge from the show Underground. He’s the main character. My lady says he looks like me. He’s got a body that’s cut up and his facial expressions are similar.
Finish this sentence: If not for boxing, I would be …
… serving 25 years to life in somebody’s jail or in a casket, plain and simple. If it wasn’t for Gary Stark Sr., my trainer, I would be dead. He saved my life, man. I owe everything to God.
But if it wasn’t for Gary Stark Sr., I wouldn’t be where I am today. He’s dedicated his time, money and energy to send me all around the country and the world to fight. So, boxing has saved my life.
If you could have dinner with four people in the history of the world, who would be on your guest list?
They would be Warren Buffett, who could teach me about money, and then there’s Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and a 22-year-old Mike Tyson.
Tyson could school me on the mindset he maintained at the time he was in his prime and dominating, and Malcolm X and Martin Luther King could enlighten me on many things.
“12 Rounds With …” is published Wednesdays at PremierBoxingChampions.com. Next week: former 135-pound world champion Omar Figueroa Jr.