Badou Jack (22-1, 13 KOs) faces Marcus Browne (22-0, 16 KOs) for the WBA interim title on Jan. 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the featured undercard bout on the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner card. Jack and Browne, respectively ranked first and second in both the WBC and WBA ratings, are focused on the fight at hand, but know WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11 KOs) is waiting in the wings.
However, despite the logical path, the victor of this bout may not head directly to Bivol.
"There's a lot of big names [in play]. There's [Sergey] Kovalev and [Eleider] Alvarez, who fight two weeks after me," Jack said on Wednesday. Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs) knocked out Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) in early August to capture the WBO version of the 175-pound title. They engage in a rematch on Feb. 2 in Frisco, Texas. That fight will air on ESPN+.
Jack is a former super middleweight titlist and briefly held the WBA 175-pound belt before vacating it to face Adonis Stevenson, then the WBC champion, on May 19. That fight ended in a disputed draw. Jack has several options to consider if he wins.
"From the Badou Jack perspective, he's always willing and ready, and basically available to fight any of these guys. He has a tough fight against Marcus Browne for the WBA interim title and we'll move on from there," said Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions, which is staging this event and handles the career of Jack.
The light heavyweight division is one with a surplus of intrigue and has a strong set of champions. In addition to Bivol and Alvarez, the WBC belt was recently captured by Oleksandr Gvozdyk (16-0, 13 KOs), who stopped Stevenson in 11 rounds on Dec. 1, and the IBF title is held by Artur Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs).
"So let's see what happens, but my focus is on what's in front of me," Jack said. "I'm willing to fight any of the world champions. Who I would prefer is the one that would pay me the most. If they pay me the same, it's probably Bivol. Like I said, Marcus Browne is first, that's it."
The 28-year-old Browne made it clear which title he would like to pursue.
"This is prizefighting, so whoever has the biggest prize -- that's who I want to fight. Whatever makes the most dollars, makes the most sense for me at this point in career," said Browne, who made it clear. "I'm not looking past Badou Jack, he's not about to be overlooked in no right. So I'm not going to talk about 10 months ahead. I've got the biggest fight of my life in 17 days."