There are two obvious factors that have led most credible oddsmakers to list Artur Beterbiev as at least an 11-1 favorite to beat Marcus Browne on Friday night.
The Russian-born Beterbiev has knocked out each of his 16 pro opponents. Browne, meanwhile, was dropped three times by underdog Jean Pascal and lost a technical decision two fights ago.
The 31-year-old Browne believes he thus has been underestimated entering their 12-round fight for Beterbiev’s IBF and WBC light heavyweight titles at Bell Centre in Montreal. The Staten Island native envisions changing the aforementioned narrative in what would be a career-changing victory for the 2012 U.S. Olympian.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe, so that’s about it,” Browne stated during a press conference Wednesday in Montreal. “Come Friday night, you’ll see. I’m tired of talkin’. I wanna fight.”
Browne (24-1, 16 KOs), a skillful and strong southpaw who is the mandatory challenger for Beterbiev’s WBC belt, was favored to beat an aged version of Pascal in August 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Beterbiev is 36, the same age as Pascal was when he boxed Browne, but Beterbiev has less than half the number of pro bouts on his record than Pascal had when he beat Browne.
Quebec’s Pascal (35-6-1, 20 KOs, 1 NC) sent Browne to the canvas once in the fourth round and twice during the seventh round. Browne then suffered a consequential cut over his left eye in the eighth round, which prohibited him from answering the bell for the ninth round.
Pascal led Browne by the same score, 75-74, on all three cards through eight rounds in their fight for the WBA interim 175-pound crown.
Browne boxed just once in the 28 months since his loss to Pascal, a former WBC light heavyweight champion.
He out-pointed veteran Denis Grachev (20-16-1, 11 KOs) unanimously in a non-televised 10-rounder April 21 at Shrine Auditorium & Exposition Center in Los Angeles. Russia’s Grachev has lost six straight fights and nine of his past 10 bouts.
Derrick James – who works with Errol Spence Jr., Browne’s former Olympic teammate, and Jermell Charlo – is Browne’s new trainer.
“We trained hard for this fight, per usual, like every fighter does,” Browne said. “You know, [Beterbiev is] a tough customer. Very, very, you know, great champion. But come Friday night, we’re changing the narrative. And that’s about it. I really don’t got too much to say. I wanna fight already, so good day.”
Browne trained at James’ gym in Dallas for the first legitimate world title shot of his career. His previous championship matches against Pascal and Badou Jack were contested for the WBA interim light heavyweight title, which has since been eliminated.
James considers Browne much more the fighter who defeated Jack than the boxer who lost to Pascal.
“Well, what made me believe [in Browne] is that I know who I am,” James said during the press conference Wednesday. “I understand that he can do what I ask him to do. He came to me, he already was a good fighter. So, I just came in and helped build on that. And I believe in myself, I believe in Marcus. That’s what made me believe it.”
Beterbiev-Browne will headline a six-fight stream on ESPN+ that is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.