On Saturday, August 3rd, undefeated WBA Interim Light Heavyweight Champion Marcus Browne (23-0, 16KOs) will take on Jean Pascal (33-6-1, 20KOs) at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. This is where we see if Pascal is completely done or has something left in the tank like he says.
Staten Island,NY native Marcus Browne should get a big welcome Saturday night in Brooklyn. He’s coming off a big win over Badou “The Ripper” Jack (22-2-3, 13KOs) in a fight that saw Jack get his head split wide open in the 7th round due to a vicious but accidental headbutt. He bled profusely for the rest of the fight. Jack was down on the cards anyways when the cut opened up. It definitely prevented any chance of a comeback. Browne proved he was for real and belongs in the mix at light heavyweight.
Jean Pascal is coming off a unanimous decision loss to WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11KOs). Pascal was dominated in that fight. Browne is good, and he definitely improved his standing, at least in my eyes in his dominant win over Badou Jack. Pascal has one thing going for him with this fight. It’s his vast experience against top level competition over the years. He’s a little old now, 36 to be exact and he has some losses on his record. He’s lost to all top caliber fighters, but he has shown decline. One must wonder if he still has what it takes to compete at the top level. I’m not convinced that he does. He’s hungry, he wants it, but physically, he’s just not what he once was. I think he has a chance in this fight, but he’s a heavy underdog for a reason. If he fights smart and maybe can get into Browne’s head and cause him to make silly mistakes, he can use his experience to edge a decision. It’s a very long shot – but like we all know, anything is possible in boxing.
Keys to Victory for Browne:
- Stay patient, set up punches. He can’t go rushing in. He needs to fight intelligently and patiently. Establish the jab, close the distance and follow up with quick combos. It should break down pascal and frustrate him, causing him to make mistakes. They already have bad blood leading up to the fight. All Browne has to do is stay patient and he controls his own destiny.
- Use speed/power combos. This really ain’t rocket science. Browne is younger, faster, and stronger. Once Browne establishes the jab, is controlling the pace, tempo, and distance – he can do whatever he wants. Getting a KO here makes a statement, even if it’s against an aging Pascal. Only Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1 28KOs) has knocked him out. Once Browne has control of fight and is in a rhythm, he should bully Pascal to the body and bring those combos upstairs, lighting him up.
- Go to the body. In Pascal’s 2nd fight with Kovalev, we saw the straight left to the body and combos over the top rule the fight and eventually lead to the KO. Browne should try to mimic this sequence. If he can hit the body early and often, it will set up the KO in the mid to late rounds.
Keys to Victory for Pascal:
- Lateral Movement. We know that Browne is stronger and faster. Pascal will have to move a lot, pivot and pump the jab, at least keep Browne honest. Like I said before, in the 2nd Kovalev fight, Pascal was very flat footed and was prime for the picking. He allowed himself to get hit with combos and ended up allowing himself to be knocked out. I say “allowing himself” because he didn’t move at all. He just stood there. He won’t be able to survive if he just stands there with Browne.
- Use head movement. Same idea. His feet are moving. His head needs to be moving as well. Constant feints, he needs to use his boxing IQ, his vast experience and dig deep. He needs to outsmart his opponent. He needs to be conventional and creative.
- Fight a little dirty. If Browne is super patient, this will be harder to execute, but if Browne comes in as the aggressor, there’s a few things Pascal can do. While they are technically illegal techniques, they rarely get called. Pascal should bait Browne to come in and either drive his head into Browne’s chest or get low and drive his shoulder into his ribs and clinch up quickly. If he’s slick enough about it, Browne will feel it and get frustrated, but the ref won’t say anything. If Pascal can get his head under Browne’s arm/shoulder, he can set up hooks like this too. At the very least, after a few of these sequences, Browne might think twice about aggressively coming in to bully Pascal.
This should be a dominating performance by Browne. He should be patient and take care of business. Pascal’s best days are behind him. Browne is younger, stronger, faster, has a lot of confidence and all the momentum behind him coming into the fight. My Prediction: Either late round TKO or an a very wide UD. It all depends on what Pascal truly has left in the tank. He’s clearly on the decline but he might be able to survive the 12 rounds. If he does indeed get thoroughly dominated, he should consider hanging up the gloves and calling it a career.
This fight will be on the undercard of Adam Kownacki vs Chris Arreola. It will be shown on PBC on Fox at 8pm ET. Yes, it’s free. Andre Berto was also supposed to fight on this card but he pulled out late due to a torn biceps injury suffered in training camp.