Tomorrow night at 8 pm ET on FOX, Adam Kownacki faces Chris Arreola in a heavyweight main event from Brooklyn, with Marcus Browne taking on Jean Pascal in a light heavyweight matchup.
Our staffers make their picks.
Marcus Browne vs Jean Pascal
As mentioned before, this is an odd sort of matchup which you get sometimes in boxing. Yes, Jean Pascal is still top 15 in the world at 175, probably. But Pascal is 36 and way past it. He was always the sort of guy who was going to age poorly, as in his prime he relied largely on his athleticism rather than any great technical skill or even big KO power. And Pascal was always inconsistent, too, perhaps as a result of that — some fights he’d look good, some fights not so much, sometimes he’d do both in the same night.
Pascal’s last four chances against top fighters have gone poorly — two losses to Kovalev, including a pretty frightening rematch beating, and losses to Eleider Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol, the latter in his last fight in November. Pascal’s last two notable wins have come over unbeaten pretenders, but Browne doesn’t look like a pretender anymore. He’s 28, in his prime, a hard-hitting southpaw light heavyweight who picked up a strong win over Badou Jack last time out. It’s just hard to see Pascal at 36 giving this guy significant problems, and as Pascal is a VERY tough guy who will take a beating, I hope the referee and/or Pascal’s corner are ready to be realistic about his chances if this thing gets one-sided. Browne TKO-9
Interestingly enough, Browne-Pascal isn’t all that different from Kownacki-Arreola in a lot of respects. You have a young Marcus Browne, 28, who should now be in his physical prime with supreme confidence after coming off a career-best win against Badou Jack in January, taking on Pascal, 36, who has proven to be shopworn after numerous years of high-level battles. Pascal has gone 4-4 in his last eight fights, and while he still shows the heart and toughness to compete, his body just can’t keep up with what his mind wants to do in the ring. This should be another good name to be added to Browne’s résumé. Browne UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg
Pascal really should have stayed retired after beating Elbiali; defying age and the odds to school a presumed prospect would have been an excellent ending. Crushing Steve Bosse got him some extra dosh, but it also led to a painfully predictable fight with Dmitry Bivol. The worst thing you can do in a sport predicated on pummeling each other is linger.
Much as I’d love to see Pascal turn back the clock and thump one of my least favorite fighters, it ain’t happening. He’s lost his explosiveness and doesn’t have the technical acumen to compensate against a bigger, younger fighter on a hot streak. Pascal’s durable enough to survive for longer than is medically advisable, but Browne should break him around the middle rounds. Browne TKO-7
Pascal isn’t only fighting Marcus Browne this weekend, he’s fighting Father Time. Pascal has somehow managed to get another shot at a light heavyweight top five guy, having dropped fights to Kovalev, Bivol and Alvarez over the last three years, however, a loss to Browne this weekend may well signal the end of his career as a contender. Browne has made no secret of his intentions to destroy Pascal in Brooklyn, with the southpaw buoyant after his impressive win over a bloodied Jack in January. Browne is reaching his peak as a professional, with his speed, power and gas tank surely too much for a shopworn Pascal to negate. Browne TKO-8
And the staff winner is...
Marcus Browne (4-0)!
Adam Kownacki vs Chris Arreola
Chris Arreola is 38. Chris Arreola doesn’t have anything you could call a good win since his 2013 slaughter of Seth Mitchell. He went to war with Curtis Harper in 2015 — you know, the dude who left the ring a year ago instead of fighting Efe Ajagba. His last win, over an unbeaten Jean Pierre Augustin, might look good on paper since Augustin was 17-0-1, but Augustin is terrible. Basically, Arreola is 38 and facing a guy who is a lot like him, except eight years younger and on a good run. He’s facing “I’m you, but stronger.”
Chris Arreola should not win this fight. There’s no good reason he would. But I’m picking him to catch the always-vulnerable Kownacki early in a big boy firefight. It happens sometimes. It shouldn’t, though. I understand. I understand this is a stupid, illogical pick, so you can save yourself the time it would take to point out all the reasons it won’t happen. I know. What I am confident about is that this won’t go past five or six rounds either way, so of course it’ll go 12 and somehow be boring when both guys suddenly start trying to box. Arreola TKO-3
Let’s see. On one hand we have Kownacki, who is 30 years old, undefeated, fairly active (by today’s standards anyway), and has proven to be a pretty good heavyweight with some good pop in his punches. Then we have Arreola, who is 38 years old, fairly inactive, has taken a lot of punches over his career, and has basically only beaten low-level opposition since getting starched by Deontay Wilder in 2016. These two heavyweights aren’t hard to find, so I expect them to slug it out in a fairly fun fight that won’t go the distance. That said, I suppose I’m just going to have to make the hard decision to climb out on a limb to pick Kownacki to take the W. Time to put Arreola to bed. Kownacki TKO-6
Patrick L. Stumberg
Well this should be fun, even beyond the visual spectacle of two stout gentleman having a donnybrook. Kownacki throws absurd volume for someone of his build and Arreola remains game as hell. “Fun” doesn’t necessarily mean “competitive,” though; Kownacki gets hit enough to keep it interesting, but Arreola’s power rarely shows up against strong opposition and I’m not sure “The Nightmare” can handle that sort of grueling pace at 38 years old.
As much of a punchline as he sometimes is, I respect Arreola and do believe he’ll give a good account of himself in the first few rounds. Once Kownacki’s body attack gets going and reduces Arreola to a stationary target, however, it’s a matter of time. Kownacki TKO-8
Kownacki is on the verge of big things in the heavyweight scene, with Arreola knocking on the door of retirement. I can’t see this being anything but a fire-fight from the first bell inside the Brooklyn Center, with both guys trading up looking to land early. ‘Babyface’ is slowly building a resume of good wins against the second tier of heavyweight contenders – Arreola is primed to be picked off by the 30-year-old with one foot already out of the door. If Arreola committed more to life as a heavy then this could be a 50/50 fight, but at 38, he is what he is. Kownacki can be hit which gives the early rounds slight jeopardy, but not enough. Kownacki KO-5