Two former Olympians met at the center of the ring tonight in Las Vegas. Badou Jack, the multiple division champion took on the up-and-coming contender in Marcus Browne.
Jack, a proven force in every division he’s competed in, entered this fight on a streak of stiff competition and continued that trend in accepting Browne’s challenge. The pair had previously verbally sparred on Twitter and on Saturday night they had their shot to settle things inside the squared circle.
The opening exchanges were calculated by both men, as expected. Browne looked to establish himself early and Jack, true to form, began the fight at a slow pace. Jack, who’s known for always having an impressive body attack, found himself having to defend an onslaught of body attacks from the younger and stronger Browne.
Questions marks loomed around Browne and if this moment would prove too big for the young contender. After a handful of rounds, it began to be clear that Browne was very comfortable with the big lights and began to own the moment. As the middle rounds progressed, Browne established himself as the ring general and his shots had their own echo every time they landed cleanly.
An accidental clash of heads in the seventh round opened a vicious cut on the forehead of Jack that began to gush blood immediately.
Almost immediately after, Browne was deducted a point for hitting after the clinch. Blood trickled down the face of Jack and his corner desperately worked to stop the stream from covering his face.
Browne literally saw red from that point forward and attacked like an obsessed bull. Jack remained game and welcomed Browne to the center of the ring. Despite Jack’s warrior mentality, Browne remained the more dominant fighter in the ring.
The blood from Jack’s cut began to become more-and-more gruesome heading into the late rounds and ringside doctors repeatedly checked Jack out and to the surprise of many, they let him continue.
In the end, Browne proved to fit the bill of a true contender and earned himself the title shot he’s yearned for since becoming a pro, and the interim WBC title. Final scorecards read 117-110, 116-111, and 119-10 all in favor of the States Island native.
“He thought he was gonna drown me in the late rounds, but I came I shape,” said Browne after the fight.
In a wide open Light Heavyweight division, Browne now positions himself among the top fighters in the division and now will look to secure a shot with one of the real champions including Alex Gvozdyk who Browne called out.
“All these boys are in trouble,” said Browne. “Teddy Atlas, you think you have the best Light Heavyweight [Gvozdyk]? Come see me.”
Now the question will be, which Light Heavyweight will take his chances against a very dangerous standout like Browne.