By Jake Donovan
There reached a point in his eventual loss to Marcus Browne where Badou Jack couldn’t do any more than survive the full 12 rounds.
For those watching the Showtime Pay-Per-View telecast last Saturday, hearing the advice he was given in between rounds might’ve suggested his corner had all but given up as well.
In the chief support to Manny Pacquiao’s 12-round win over Adrien Broner last weekend in Las Vegas, Jack was hailed for fighting through a grotesque cut just to cross the finish line in a sound defeat to Marcus Browne. At stake was a shot at unbeaten World light heavyweight champ Oleksandr Gvozdyk, but Jack got off to a slow start, with any chance of a second-half rally thwarted by a headbutt leaving him with a deep cut along his forehead.
“At first, I was thinking, damn it’s just leaking. I thought the doctor would stop it, but they didn’t,” Jack recalled during a recent media conference call. “Lou (del Valle, former light heavyweight champ and Jack’s current head trainer) told me it wasn’t bad, he was just trying to calm me down.”
The cut was examined several times by ringside physicians, but Jack gave every indication that he wanted to continue. What wasn’t immediately clear to the average home viewer were the instructions from del Valle.
Along with the clash of heads in round seven leaving Jack with a 6” cut, Browne (23-0, 16KOs) was also deducted a point for excessive holding. In between rounds, del Valle—who held a light heavyweight title in the late 1990’s and remains best known for being the first to score a knockdown over Roy Jones Jr.—was overheard screaming to Jack that Browne “is about to get disqualified,” but offering little other advice to turn around the fight.
By the 12th and final round, Jack’s corner instructions were to give his trainer “that Mike Tyson (stuff). No more boxing. I need that Mike Tyson. Straight right hooks!” It made for amusing sound bites, although the boxer knew exactly what his trainer really expected.
“I saw people online, they were laughing,” Jack noted of the social media banter over such commentary. “Lou was telling me, ‘You gotta fight like Mike Tyson.’ He didn’t literally mean it; he just meant that at the time I gotta go at him and just knock him out, that I wasn’t going to win unless I knocked him out.
“We got different codes that we use (in the corner). Trust me, Lou knows me better than anyone else.”
It was a landslide decision by fight’s end, with Browne winning by scores of 119-108, 117-110 and 116-111. With the win, the unbeaten contender from Staten Island, New York will now wait for the World Boxing Council (WBC) to order the title fight, which will come shortly after Gvozdyk’s approved voluntary title defense which is expected to come this spring.
Meanwhile, Jack (22-2-3, 13KOs) will be forced to sit out until his wounds heal and he is cleared to return to the gym for training and sparring. The Las Vegas resident and former two-division titlist will use that time to travel to the Middle East, continuing his mission through the Badou Jack Foundation to provide support for refugees in war-torn countries.
It will also give him time to thank all of his fans who’ve reached out in admiration of his in-ring bravery.
“I have tens of thousands of (emails) and stuff; I haven’t been able to get to 10% of it so far, it’s so much,” Jack said in admiration of the outpouring of public support. To me, if you’re a fighter you’re supposed to fight through it. It’s not a big deal.
“To me, if you can’t fight through it, you’re not a real fighter.”