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Badou Jack to fight in August, cruiserweight possible

Latest Badou Jack

By Mike Smith: Badou Jack plans on returning to the ring in August, seven months after suffering a terrible cut on his forehead from his loss to Marcus Browne on January 18. Jack (22-2-3, 13 KOs) isn’t sure who he’ll be facing, but he says he’s interested possibly in moving up to cruiserweight.

Jack, 35, will be taking a chance in returning to the ring this soon after suffering such a bad cut in his 12 round unanimous decision loss to 2012 U.S Olympian Browne (23-0, 16 KOs) on January 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the cut has seemingly healed, it potentially could open up once Jack starts getting hit. The scar is impossible to ignore on Jack’s face. The cut starts from the middle of his forehead all the way down to the bridge of his nose. If the cut reopens in Jack’s future fights, it’s going to make it hard for him to see. It’s a bad place where if the cut opens, it’s going to leak blood in both of his eyes just like what occurred during the second half of the Browne fight, which Jack lost by the scores 117-110, 116-111 and 119-108.

“I’m ready to fight in August against anyone, a rematch or any of the other champions or a move up in weight. I’m ready for anything,” Badou Jack said to Fighthype.

A rematch against Browne, 28, would be a bad idea for Badou. Even before Jack suffered the cut in that fight, he was having a lot of problems with Browne’s hand speed, power, movement, and overall boxing ability. Before Jack moved up to light heavyweight in 2017, he’d fought his entire career at super middleweight, where he had held the WBC title from 2015 to 2017. Jack moved up to light heavyweight in 2017 and stopped WBA champion Nathan Cleverly in August of that year. In Jack’s next fight, he fought to grueling 12 round draw against WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson last May. Jack took a lot of punishment against the 41-year-old Stevenson, who wasn’t the same fighter he’d been years earlier. That fight showed that Jack isn’t cut out for the 175 lb division. Stevenson was at the end of his career when Jack fought him, and yet he still couldn’t beat him. The punishment that Jack took in that fight was worse than any fight he’d had during his career. That should have been a hint for Jack to move back down to 168 to fight in a division that he’s more suited to. Instead he chose to fight the young Marcus Browne, and it didn’t work out well for him. If Jack does fight Browne again, the results will likely be the same. Jack didn’t match up well with Browne, and likely never will.

“I had something that happened after the weigh-in. I’m not going to make any excuses,” Jack said about his recent loss to Marcus Browne. “I could barely see after the head-butt. It’s OK, I’ll come back strong.”

The fight should have been stopped after Jack suffered the cut. It was insane idea for him to fight the remainder of the contest with the jagged cut bleeding everywhere, and getting worse with each shot he was hit with. Whether Jack comes back from the injury will be depend on who he faces in his next fight. If Jack wants to fight for a world title when he comes back in August, it might be a bad idea. That cut could open once Jack starts getting hit. If Jack is facing a world champion like Artur Beterbiev, Sergey Kovalev, Oleksandr Gvzdyk or Dmitry Bivol, it’s easy to imagine the cut opening up quickly, and causing the fight to be stopped. Moving up to cruiserweight would be a bad idea, because those guys are bigger, and punch harder than the light heavyweights. Jack never proved himself to be a huge puncher at 175. At cruiserweight, Jack would be a guy that would be trying to win with volume punching, and that’s a hard way to win when you’re getting hit by powerful punches in the cruiserweight division.

“The light heavyweight division is one of the best in boxing; light heavyweight and welterweight,” Jack said.

The light heavyweight division is stacked with talented champions right now, and it’s hard to see who Jack would have a chance of beating. These are the champions at this moment: Oleksander Gvozdyk [WBC], Marcus Browne [interim WBC], Artur Beterbiev [IBF], Sergey Kovalev [WBO] and Dmitry Bivol [WBA]. Out of all those fighters, Jack would stand the best chance of beating the 35-year-old Kovalev. It would be a winnable fight for Jack, but the question is could his management set him up with a fight against the Russian fighter? That’s debatable. If not, then Jack would be stuck having to try and go after Gvozdyk, Beterbiev or Bivol. Those are all tough fights that Jack might not have the youth, power and natural frame to win. Beterbiev, Gvozdyk and Bivol are well schooled fighters that have been fighting at 175 their whole careers. Jack is a newcomer to the super middleweight division, and he’s not shown that he belongs there.

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“I felt good until after the weigh-in,” Jack said. “I felt good except what happened in the fight [the head-butt]. I’m still young. We’ll see what happens in the next fight,” Jack said.

Jack didn’t look good during the fight. It’s unclear what might have happened with Jack to make him struggle in the fight. It just appeared that Jack was facing a younger, more talented fighter in Marcus Browne. Jack was fighting a true light heavyweight, not a fighter that was old and had previously fought much of his career at super middleweight in Adonis Stevenson.

“I feel like I’m the oldest of all of them,” Jack said of the other top light heavyweights. “[Sergey] Kovalev might be a couple of months older than me.”

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Jack is one of the older fighters at light heavyweight, but that’s not why he won’t excel in that weight class. The reason is the current champions in the division have more punching power than Jack, and they’re all highly technical fighters. Kovalev, Bivol and Gvozdyk are excellent boxers. Beterbiev is a huge puncher, who can throw with knockout power on the inside, which is where Jack likes to fight.

“We’ll wee what happens,” Jack said about his next fight. “I’m ready for a big fight regardless of what weight class except heavyweight. I’ll be back late summer,” Jack said.

If Jack is serious about wanting a big fight in August, then it’s anyone’s guess who that would be against. If Jack isn’t going to get a title shot at 175, there aren’t any big fights in the weight class if he’s just going to be fighting a contender. Of the top contenders in the light heavyweight division, there’s Anthony Yarde, Sullivan Barrera, Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith Jr. Those wouldn’t be big fights for Jack. Who knows? Maybe Jack feels that a fight against one of those guys would constitute being a “big fight” at light heavyweight. Alvarez just lost, Smith Jr. and Barrera recently lost, so there wouldn’t be much for Jack to gain in fighting them. It’s unlikely Yarde’s management would allow him to fight a seasoned pro like Jack. If Jack moves up to cruiserweight, he could fight the likes of Krszysztof Wlodarczyk, Yuniel Dorticos, Beibut Shumenov, Mairis Briedis, Andrew Tabiti, Denis Lebedev or Krzysztof Glowacki. Those would be big fights for Jack, especially if one of the cruiserweight titles is on the line. Unified champion Oleksander Usyk is moving up to heavyweight this summer to fight Carlos Takam, and then go after IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua. Usyk still hasn’t vacated his belts at cruiserweight, but he’s expected to. Jack could go after one of the titles once Usyk vacates them, but he would likely need to face one of the above contenders.

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