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Kovalev-Marcus Browne Deal Done for HBO Bout; Date Not Set

By Keith Idec

Sergey Kovalev will fight another southpaw in his next fight, this time an unbeaten American Olympian.

BoxingScene.com has learned that an agreement was reached Sunday for Kovalev to defend his WBO light heavyweight title against Marcus Browne. Their 12-round fight will be broadcast by HBO and will take place in The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the site of Kovalev’s last two fights.

The date for the Kovalev-Browne bout hasn’t been finalized. It could take place as early as June 23.

sergey-kovalev (1)_6

Whenever it happens, Browne (21-0, 16 KOs) has accepted by far the most challenging assignment of his five-year professional career. The Staten Island, New York, native has scored quick knockouts in back-to-back bouts, but those impressive victories came against fringe light heavyweight contender Sean Monaghan (29-1, 17 KOs) and Francy Ntetu (17-2, 4 KOs).

The 27-year-old Browne beat Ntetu by first-round technical knockout January 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

In Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs), the tall, strong southpaw will encounter an elite light heavyweight champion who has lost only to former pound-for-pound king Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs). Russia’s Kovalev, who’ll turn 35 on April 2, has begun rebuilding his reputation since suffering a controversial eighth-round technical knockout loss to Ward in their light heavyweight championship rematch June 17 in Las Vegas.

He won back the WBO 175-pound championship he lost to Ward in their first fight by knocking out Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-2, 16 KOs) on November 25 at The Theater. Kovalev’s second-round stoppage of Shabranskyy enabled him to take back the title Ward vacated when he retired in September.

Kovalev returned to The Theater to stop fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-2, 9 KOs) in the seventh round March 3. There was talk of Kovalev fighting WBA champ Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs), who stopped Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) in the 12th round on the Kovalev-Mikhalkin undercard, in his next bout.

If they both continue winning, a Kovalev-Bivol bout probably won’t take place until later this year. That opened up this opportunity for Browne, who turned down chances to face Kovalev on November 25 and March 3 because he wasn’t offered an acceptable purse.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by odogg8121 on 03-22-2018

[QUOTE=Johnston;18583727]He has 21 fights and the kalajdzic fight was a robbery if remember right[/QUOTE] meant to say i havent seen them all; ok thx im going to check that fight out tonight.

Comment by steady_p on 03-19-2018

[QUOTE=Boxing Logic;18584214]Kovalev never wants to foul. I see you are already laying the groundwork to make excuses when Browne intentionally headbutts him like he did to Kalajdic, or when he holds 300 times like he did to Kalajdic. Browne is…

Comment by john l on 03-19-2018

[QUOTE=kiaba360;18584243]I think Kovalev is more vulnerable than Beterbiev right now. Browne is gonna make more money while fighting the easier and more notable opponent.[/QUOTE] I agree about the money part we will just have to agree to disagree on other.Im…

Comment by john l on 03-19-2018

[QUOTE=Boxing Logic;18584198]Nah man. Kovalev is way more vulnerable than Beterbiev. You're thinking of Kovalev from 4 years ago. Ever since the Chilemba fight, he has been a 4 round fighter. He was exhausted after 6 rounds with Igor Mikhalkin, for…

Comment by john l on 03-19-2018

[QUOTE=Motorcity Cobra;18583808]Didn't Browne pass on a mandatory shot against Beterbiev or was it someone else he passed on?[/QUOTE] Yea from my understanding he could have fought either.I think more money and MAYBE the fact Betebieve has some promoter issues.

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