2012 U.S. Olympian says his ring experience has prepared him to defeat former two-division titleholder Badou Jack in their WBA interim light heavyweight title fight this Saturday night in Las Vegas and live on Showtime PPV.
It was Tony Bellew that initially alerted this writer to the potential of New York City’s Marcus Browne.
Browne, a Staten Island native and past resident of both Queens and Brooklyn, knows the Big Apple fight scene as well as anyone. When he burst through the doors of a Coney Island sweat box during the autumn of 2012, he found a game Brit hoping to sharpen his tools against the best the East Coast had to offer.
Bellew was preparing to face Argentina’s Roberto Bolonti that November. Browne recalls the grueling session with stunning accuracy.
“Holy sh**, that was a war, bro,” reflects Browne. “I must’ve only been about 20. I don’t even know if I had my first pro fight, and I saw this guy in there, walking around so confident like he was the man, and that was my gym so I thought I was the man. I had no idea who he was, but once we started fighting in there then you could see that he was the real deal.
“The funny thing about that gym in Coney is that it doesn’t even have a ring. It’s just a load of ropes held up and there was no room whatsoever so we were always in each other’s face. You take one step back and you’re on the ropes and that’s not the place to be when you’re in there with Bellew. Things did get a little bit out of hand at times, but that type of spar opened my eyes to a lot of things. I can say that Bellew went a long way to turning me into a man. I’m proud of how his career ended up. I always had a feeling that he’d have a load of success and good times in the sport. I wish him well and now I want to go on and have nights like he had.”
If Bellew helped develop Browne into a man, then a victory over Badou Jack this Saturday, January 19, can transform him into The Man.
Browne and Jack will meet for the interim WBA light heavyweight title in the chief support for the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner headliner at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena on SHOWTIME PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Brown, 28, 22-0 (16 KOs) believes the current iteration of himself is ready to defeat Jack, and then rule the world.
“I’ve cried out for something like this for many years now and it’s finally happening,” he said. “I ain’t scared to be harsh on myself because I set myself very high standards, but there was a time where I felt like I just couldn’t get motivated for certain opponents and you probably saw that in the Radivoje Kalajdzic fight [a 2016 split decision win]. Look how well I responded against guys like Thomas Williams and Seanie Monaghan. You saw me at my very best. I’ve put all my faith in God to make sure it’ll be the very best version of me when I face Jack later this month.”
Jack, 22-1-3 (13 KOs) is a highly competent champion whose performances strongly outweigh results, with a pair of quality showings against stellar competition not quite going his way. A January 2017 draw with James DeGale prevented Jack from ruling the 168-pound kingdom. The same verdict against Adonis Stevenson in May 2018 thwarted his hopes of dominating the light heavyweight landscape.
Despite these setbacks, Jack is universally respected. Browne sees flaws he can exploit.
“He does everything really well, but he has no outstanding feature like speed or power, so there are a number of ways that he can be beaten,” Browne said. “I think he may even be past his peak ever so slightly. He’s a good fighter, but I’ll show you that a good fighter ain’t enough to beat me when I’m at my best.”
Browne isn’t looking past Jack, but he is looking through him—seeing a future where he rules the 175-pound terrain.
“Being honest, I think the division is wide open for me to take over,” he said. “I look at the other fighters and the other champions and they are all very one-dimensional with no charisma. They bore me if I’m being totally truthful with you. I promise you I’m going to bring it to life after I beat Jack. You best believe that it’s my time now.”
For a complete look at Jack vs Browne, check out our fight page.