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Badou Jack vs. Marcus Browne in the works for January

Image: Badou Jack vs. Marcus Browne in the works for January

By Jim Dower: Negotiations have started for a fight between former two division world champion Badou Jack and the highly ranked Marcus Browne for the first quarter of 2019, according to The fight will wind up on Showtime Boxing if it gets made.

There’s a possibility that the Jack-Browne fight will end up taking place on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien ‘The Problem’ Browner on Sky pay-per-view on January 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Having Jack vs. Browne on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Broner card will give it a good one-two punch, and it’ll attract a lot of boxing fans to want to tune in to see the card.

A fight between Badou (22-1-3, 13 KOs) and the 2012 U.S Olympian Browne is a good enough match to be a headliner. It might be a waste of putting it on the undercard of Broner vs. Pacquiao. It’s a fight that should be a headliner in it’s own right.

The two fighters have been given the green light to the fight. The negotiations are progressing. The fight still has a long way go go before it’s finalized though.

The undefeated Browne (22-0, 16 KOs) has been waiting for a title shot for a while. He could have stuck it out and fought for a world title against IBF champion Artur Beterbiev, but he opted to put himself in position to fight for the World Boxing Organization 175 lb title. When Browne originally started waiting on a shot at a title in the WBO’s rankings, Sergey Kovalev was the champion and it was a good situation for him. But now the title holder is Eleider Alvarez, and it’s not as good of a fight for Browne. It’s still a winnable fight for Browne compared if he were to face Beterbiev or WBA champion Dmitry Bivol. Those guys might be a little too good for Browne.

Jack, 35, doesn’t have much to show for 2018, as he fought to a 12 round majority draw against World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson earlier this year on May 19 in Toronto, Canada. Jack only has the one fight against Stevenson to show for himself in 2018. That’s a big waste for a fighter as talented as Jack, who is in the prime of his career. Jack should be fighting at least twice a year if not three times. He could have made more money and possibly won a world title in 2018 if he’d been given another crack at a title.

A lot of boxing fans thought that Jack had done enough to deserve the victory with the way that he came on strong in the second half of the fight, but the judges scored it even. That was a big disappointment for Jack, as it was his second 12 round draw in his last three fights. Jack fought former IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale to a 12 round draw last year in January 2017 in a unification fight. At the time, Jack was the WBC super middleweight champion. Instead of staying at 168, Jack moved up to light heavyweight and defeated WBA ‘regular’ 175 lb champion Nathan Cleverly by a 5th round knockout tow in his title. Jack vacated the belt right away, and opted to fight Stevenson for his WBC title. If Jack had kept the WBA title, he would have had to fight Dmitry Bivol, and that would have been a tough fight for him to try and win.

Browne has looked superb in his last four fights in beating Lenin Castillo, Francy Ntetu, Sean Monaghan and Thomas Williams. It was a big improvement in Browne’s game since his controversial eight round split decision win over Radivoje Kalajdzic in April 2016. Brown appeared to lose that fight, but he was given a questionable decision.

Last summer, Browne missed out on a title shot against then WBO champion Sergey Kovalev after being charged with domestic violence. Browne would have had a good chance of beating Kovalev, and snatching up the WBO 175 lb title. Browne still can eventually get a title shot if he keeps winning, but he’s going to need to get past Jack, and continue to win long enough for that fight to come his way.

It’s still hard to know how good Browne is because he’s not been facing good opposition. The only opponent that the boxing public has to gauge Browne’s talent on is his fight with Kalajdzic, and he looked terrible in that fight. Browne was fine when he was the one dishing out the punishment, but when he got hit back, he was crumbling.

Browne has a chance of winning this fight if he can take the return fire that’s coming his way from Jack will make it tough. If Browne can handle being involved in a war that Jack will bring him, then he can possibly win. Browne is a highly talented fighter with speed, power and skills. What we don’t know is whether he’s got the heart to beat a fighter in Jack’s class in a grueling fight.

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