By Jake Donovan
Marcus Browne managed to remain unbeaten but needed a lot of help in order to edge out Radivoje Kalajdzic by a disputed split decision win over eight rounds Saturday evening at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Both fighters were credited with knockdowns, but it was a poorly ruled opening round call that proved to be the difference on the cards. Kalajdzic won 76-74 on one card - and in the eyes of most viewers in attendance and at home watching on NBC - but was overruled by scores of 76-74 and 76-75 for Browne, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from nearby Staten Island.
Referee Tony Chaiarantano became an unfortunate part of the storyline in the fight, including a blown call in an otherwise slow moving opening round.
Kalajdzic - Bosnia-born but who now lives and trains in St. Petersburg, Florida - slipped and fell to the canvas midway through the frame, with Browne following up with a love tap before clinching and awaiting further instructions. To the surprise of many - and the dismay of Kalajdzic - a knockdown was ruled and ultimately played a pivotal part on the scorecards,
Browne did his best to ride the momentum of a two-point round, but never really found his offensive rhythm. Both fighters were warned for roughhouse tactics, but Browne was given considerable leeway for frequent clinching, as he easily could have been deducted points at several points in the fight after receiving multiple warnings.
Kalajzdic took matters into his own hands, dropping Browne hard in round six. It was a clean knockdown and a clear-cut two-point round for the visiting light heavyweight, who was clearly the fresher boxer of the two heading down the stretch.
It wasn't enough to sway the judging panel, however, as Kalazjdic (21-1, 14KOs) leaves Brooklyn with his first career loss. The decision wasn't at all well-received by the crowd, who booed the local favorite Browne (now 18-0).
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox