Adrien Broner vs. Adrian Granados will be the main event this weekend in Cincinnati, but the fight I am most interested in is the co-main event, when undefeated light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne faces off with former world-title challenger Thomas Williams.
The 175-pound class is one of the sport’s best right now. If the right fights get made within the division, this will go down in boxing lore as one of the best eras in light heavyweight history. Browne could be a player in that narrative.
After representing the United States in the 2012 Olympics, Browne has compiled an 18-0 record with 13 KOs. He has faced respectable competition, though nothing special. He knocked out punching bag to the stars George Blades in December 2014. In September 2015, he stopped badly faded former belt holder Gabriel Campillo in the first round. He’s defeated a string of experienced, veteran contenders.
Browne had to struggle to hang on last April against fellow unbeaten Radivoje Kalajdzic, who got off the canvas in Round 1 and came back to return the favor against Browne in Round 6. The American escaped with a hard-fought split decision.
I don’t really see that fight as a warning sign when evaluating Browne. Kalajdzic is a tough Eastern European with the same sort of long, angular frame that Browne has. It should have been a tough fight for Browne. I think he has the boxing IQ to learn from it.
Williams should be another tough test for him. He’s coming off from a knockout loss to lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, last July. But prior to that loss, he had knocked out the very tough Edwin Rodriguez in a free-swinging brawl in April. In November 2015, he stopped hard-punching Umberto Savigne.
I would not place either Browne or Williams inside of the light heavyweight top 10, although they are both close. For Browne in particular, this fight could be the launching pad to a major, high-profile fight.