Badou Jack was already well behind on the scorecards when a headbutt sliced his head four inches down his face during his bout against Marcus Browne.
Browne, who picked up an interim light heavyweight title with a lopsided unanimous decision in the co-main event of the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner card Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, did not take any chances, although Jack was left bleeding profusely and had virtually no shot at winning unless he scored a knockout.
"Congrats to Marcus Browne, who fought a great fight," Jack (22-2-3, 13 KO's), tweeted Sunday.
Jack was prepared to fight from behind and take his opponent into deep waters. Unfortunately, the cut, which required around 100 stitches to fix Jack's forehead, threw another variable into the equation that no one could have expected.
“We wanted to take him in deep waters and drown him. But he fought a great fight. We’ve seen what happens in my other fights in the later rounds.”
Jack, a two-division world champion, is a notoriously slow starter, but is also known for his strong second-half rallies against the likes of Anthony Dirrell, Lucian Bute, James DeGale, and Adonis Stevenson. However, that strategy has not always worked in his favor, as two of the four aforementioned bouts ended in draws. His April 2016 fight against Bute was initially ruled a draw, but was changed to a disqualification win after Bute tested positive for a banned substance.
But there was no second-half histrionics against the younger, fresher, hungrier Browne (23-0, 16 KO's). The cut was an insult to injury in what was already a frustrating night. In the fifth round, Jack went for broke and charged at Browne, but Browne wiggled his way out of the clinch, and countered Jack with a huge counter that woke up the crowd. Jack, though, was not particularly impressed with his adversary's punching power.
“[Browne is] a good fighter, but no I don’t feel he was a big puncher,” Jack said. “I was in with a big puncher in my last fight [Stevenson]. So, absolutely not.
“He was holding me a lot. That comes with the territory; you have to keep fighting. The blood affected me a little bit, but no excuses. I tried my best.”
Browne, a New York native who trained for five weeks in Colorado Springs to prepare for Jack, has earned a reputation for skirting outside the box of sportsmanlike conduct. Browne defeated former title challenger Thomas Williams in a sixth-round stoppage in a February 2017 bout. In the second round, Browne floored Williams with a right jab, but followed up by clobbering Williams with a straight left hand behind the head while he was down on both knees.
“There was a few little dirty tricks he did (during the fight),” Jack said of Browne, who was deducted a point in the seventh round for excessive holding. “We knew was dirty, he hit Thomas Williams when he was down.
“We studied him. We knew he was a little dirty. But this is boxing. He held me whenever I was able to get on the inside, but he did the right thing. Same thing with Stevenson, at the end of our fight, he was holding a lot too.”
Despite losing virtually every round, Jack, who suffered his first loss in nearly five years, wants a rematch.
“Of course, I want to avenge my loss," Jack added.
“I would love a rematch, but we don’t know how long it (the cut) will take to heal. I’m looking in the mirror; it’s already looking great.”