In the first Pay-Per-View event of the year in the States, Showtime have provided a stellar undercard. There is a crossroads world title fight, a hugely anticipated match-up between two of the brightest contenders at Light Heavyweight and the prospect of an all-action fight at Featherweight.
The most notable bout being Badou Jack’s clash with Marcus Browne, with the winner set in stone to face recently crowned WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
Jack 22-1-3(13KO’s) has already come up short for the aforementioned title, when he drew with former champion Adonis Stevenson – who continues his recovery from a bleed on the brain following his loss to Gvozdyk.
Considered the most underrated fighter in world boxing, Jack has continued to improve with each passing contest, but it has become commonplace for the Swedish born fighter to come away with draws in fights that it seems his clinical boxing style is enough for him to win.
This contest is likely to be no different, as Browne is also improving with every fight, and looks primed for his shot at one of the best. He has displayed his power in knockouts of both Thomas Williams Jr and Sean Monaghan, but finding the chin of Jack will be far harder to achieve.
Browne 22-0(16KO’s) will set off with a good start, but frustration will set in as Jack slowly eases his way back into the contest, while also proving impossible to budge from his shell-tight defence.
Wasting energy in the middle-rounds, Browne will lose ground and tire down the stretch. A frenetic finish is on the cards here as Browne attempts to repel the stubborn and consistent force applied by Jack. At the end of 12, Jack will come away with a narrow victory to set up a huge title clash later on in 2019.
Rau’shee Warren’s amateur pedigree saw him fly through the rankings quickly, but the American has twice lost momentum, firstly when trumped on a split decision by Juan Carlos Payano in his first world title shot, and then to Zhanat Zhakiyanov – again via split decision – after avenging that loss to Payano.
Now it is time for another young prospect to prove his worth in the pro game, as the two battle for the vacant WBC Bantamweight title.
France’s Nordine Oubaali 14-0(11KO’s) makes his first professional appearance outside of France but is confident he has what it takes to replicate Zhakiyanov and Payano’s successes.
Warren 16-2(4KO’s) has the experience on his side, but this is likely to go down a similar route to his three previous world title fights. It’s a pick ‘em before the first bell and it’ll likely be a pick ‘em when the 12 rounds are up. Warren’s cleaner work should edge it his way on a split/majority decision.
Jhack Tepora continues to close in on world honours at Featherweight, but won’t have it all his own way against the seasoned Hugo Ruiz.
Ruiz 38-4(33KO’s) has been stopped by Julio Ceja and Hozumi Hasegawa down at Super Bantamweight, and enjoyed his best days at Bantamweight.
A two-time world title challenger who still has plenty left at 30-years old, but Tepora 22-0(17KO’s) should be too slick and find a way to score a stoppage in the final third.