Jack vs Browne : Former two-division world champion Badou Jack (22-1-3, 13 KOs) is incredibly effective fighting in the pocket. He’s unafraid to engage toe-to-toe and his use of angles enables him to land sneaky, devastating punches.
Marcus Browne (22-0, 16 KOs), undefeated light heavyweight contender, is a big puncher, sporting a whopping 73% knockout ratio. The 2012 U.S. Olympian is also a skillful boxer, but is more adept at utilizing short, powerful shots in mid-range that can catch his foe unawares.
What happens when these two fighters collide this Saturday, January 19, at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand?
A boxing match turned rumble in the later rounds.
Both Jack and Browne tend to be slow starters, feeling out their opponents in the early frames. But once they get a feel for what their foe has—or doesn’t—they are quick to take advantage of available opportunities and let their hands go.
Jack, 35, has steadily improved throughout his career and is now an elite boxer. In a sport where most athletes are unable to make serious adjustments beyond their twenties, this is a remarkable achievement.
In 2014, Jack was stopped in one by Derek Edwards. He made tremendous strides immediately after, resembling an entirely different fighter versus Jason Escalera six months later. Most importantly, he didn’t take the loss to heart—he used it to elevate his game to a new level.
It’s not something every athlete can do, by any means, but Jack is no ordinary athlete. His resume is one of the best in the sport, including names like world champions Anthony Dirrell, George Groves, James DeGale, and Adonis Stevenson.
This is Jack’s third bout at the 175-pound limit. He made his division debut in August 2017, versus then-WBA light heavyweight world champion Nathan Cleverly.
In that bout, Badou moved utilized impressive footwork but, as always, he didn’t move excessively or waste energy. He changed the range frequently and used short, lateral steps to prevent Cleverly from setting and throwing as much as he typically does (a particularly smart strategy considering Cleverly’s off-the-charts volume punching).
Jack remained in the pocket, throwing and landing at a range where his offense was most effective. It proved devastating to Cleverly, who was stopped in the fifth.
If Jack employs a similar strategy against Browne, it could spell trouble for the New York native.
Jack vs Browne : WBA interim light heavyweight title
Marcus, a 28-year-old southpaw, is a highly athletic fighter with an educated jab. He uses that punch effectively to go to the body from the outside—a bit of a rarity among rangy fighters in particular—and force his opponent to re-set and re-think their offense. Browne does his best work from mid-range, where his long arms allow him to land first and often.
Browne has good footwork, using that to change distance, confuse his opponent and make himself a more difficult target. His potential is limitless, thanks to his elite physical attributes.
Browne was a decorated amateur and a member of the 2012 US Olympic squad. He has a solid boxing base to go along with his natural gifts.
However, Browne tends to hold his hands low, particularly his lead hand. In the past, he occasionally has a “tell” (a habit that gives away what he’s about to do). Marcus sometimes moves his head side-to-side just before he sets his feet and throws. Against a crafty foe with fast hands and/or great timing, this could be a problem.
Jack’s biggest issue is being a slow starter. Aside from the one-round TKO loss to Edwards, he was knocked down in the first by James DeGale. He’ll study his opponent early on, offering feints and slight movements to see how they react. Some fighters have taken advantage of this, attacking when Jack is still sizing them up. This could be especially dangerous versus an explosive fighter like Browne.
Jack versus Browne will be the co-feature on the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner SHOWTIME PPV (9PM ET / 6PM PT). No matter what happens, it promises to be an exciting bout, possibly stealing the show on this stacked card. And the longer it goes, the more fun it should be.