By Lem Satterfield
“Sir” Marcus Browne may be poised to become the new star in a wide-open 175-pound division whose champions, Adonis Stevenson, Eleider Alvarez, Artur Berterbiev and Dmitry Bivol have and will soon defend their WBC, WBO, IBF and WBA world championships.
A Staten Island, New York, native and 2012 U.S. Olympian, Browne (22-0, 16 KOs) has expressed interest in fighting Stevenson, Alvarez, Bivol or Beterbiev should the 28-year-old southpaw get beyond a possible January bout against two-division champion Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs).
Jack has expressed interest in fighting Browne, and the two of them are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the slots for the titles owned by Stevenson and Bivol, with Browne being rated No. 1 for that held by Alvarez.
“[Jack’s] ahead of me, and I don’t wanna fight anybody who is behind me. If I’m what they claim I am in the boxing world, then he’s a person I should fight,” said the 6-foot-1½ Browne, whose 28th birthday was on November 10.
“[Jack] responded to me on Instagram saying he wanted to fight. He’s not busy, I’m not busy, and the champions have other fights. So I feel like I’m in a great position, and I’m waiting for Badou Jack to step up to the plate. I can’t wait to fight him and beat his ass.”
In his last fight in May, the 35-year-old Jack battled through a grueling, toe-to-toe draw with the left-handed Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs), a 41-year-old whose ninth defense happened before his partisan fans at Air Canada Center in Toronto, Canada.
Boxing’s oldest reigning champion, Stevenson pursues his 10th defense against Oleksandr Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs) on December 1 at Centre Videotron in Quebec City on Showtime. Stevenson is 16-0-1 with 14 knockouts since a second-round stoppage loss to Darnell Boone in April 2010 he avenged by sixth-round KO in March 2013.
“[Jack’s] performance against Stevenson was solid,” said Browne, whose unanimous decision over Lenin Castillo (18-2-1, 13 KOs) in August ended the loser’s run of three consecutive knockouts.
“I don’t really see anything special about him, but at the end of the day, he’s a two-time world champion and a solid name. I want to beat him before going after the champions in no particular order.”
The 34-year-old Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs) scored a three-knockdown, seventh-round knockout to dethrone Sergey Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) in August. On the same card as Alvarez, the 27-year-old Bivol (14-0,11 KOs) earned a unanimous decision over Isaac Chilemba.
Bivol makes his third defense against former titleholder Jean Pascal (33-5-1, 20 KOs) on November 24, and Alvarez-Kovalev II is slated for February.
Browne’s out-of-the ring activities have threatened his progress, as of late. He’s been charged and arrested three times in 10 months for domestic incidents involving an ex-girlfriend, the final incident happening last month when he was released after posting $2,500 bail. Browne’s initial charge in December 2017 and a subsequent March 2017 arrest cost him an August 4 shot at Kovalev, whose promoter instead matched Kovalev with Alvarez.
“Whatever opportunity presents itself, I’m willing to take it,” said Browne. “As long as there’s a world title involved, I’m ready, willing and able, no matter what name you throw at me.”
Last month, the 33-year-old Beterbiev (13-0, 13-0) scored first- and final-round knockdowns but was dropped, himself, in the second of his fourth-round stoppage of Callum Johnson (17-1, 12 KOs), whose run of four straight knockouts, including three in the first round, was ended.
Citing too soon of a turnaround, Beterbiev pulled out of a scheduled December 15 second defense against Joe Smith (24-2, 20 KOs), whose biggest career victories were by first- and eighth-round stoppages of former title challenger Andrzej Fonfara and two-division champion Bernard Hopkins in June and December 2016. Beterbiev-Smith will instead happen in February.
“They all know that I’m coming and that I’m knocking at the door,” said Brown. “So I’ll continue to go out there and allow my performance to speak for itself. I’m just ready to go.”
Browne is following the paths of Olympic teammates like southpaw Errol Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), an IBF welterweight champion. Another Olympians, southpaw Rau’Shee Warren (16-2, 4 KOs), has won and lost a bantamweight crown.
Meanwhile, former teammates Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs), Michael Hunter (15-1, 10 KOs) and Terrell Gausha (20-1, 9 KOs) have lost heavyweight, cruiserweight and junior middleweight title fights.
“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,” said Browne.
“Everybody has their own time, and I’m on the cusp of winning a world title. I just have to take care of business, so that’s what I’m focused on.”
Browne surged last year with KO victories over left-handed title challenger Thomas Williams Jr. and previously unbeaten Seanie Monaghan in the sixth and second rounds.
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.
In January, Browne’s first-round stoppage of Francy Ntetu at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center improved his mark to 12-0 with eight knockouts at the New York venue.
“It’s not that I’ve gone out looking for these knockouts as much as taking my time. I’m boxing and setting them up,” said Brown, who is Browne is 13-0 with nine KOs in New York.
“When these opportunities have presented themselves, I’ve taken them. It will be the same as usual for my next fight, where I’ll go out and use my abilities. I’m always ready to for 12 rounds for any one of those belts.”