S.I. Olympian Marcus Browne set for debut

Sandy has been on Marcus Browne's mind -- how could it not be, since the severe storm did its best to kayo his Staten Island home base? But Browne is intent on not letting the storm surge remove him from the task he has in front of him Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.

The light heavyweight, who repped the U.S. at the London Olympics, takes on Codale Ford, 2-0 out of Oklahoma, in his professional debut. His training was interrupted by Sandy, and he was away from the Atlas Cops and Kids gym Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, before getting back on the beam last Wednesday. The fighter, who turns 22 on Nov. 10, told NYFightBlog that his camp was six weeks long, and when queried whether the storm threw him off his stride, replied, "Of course not. I'm in shape."

As for scouting Ford, he found some YouTube on the guy, but it was MMA. "I think it was him," said Browne, who stated he is most concerned with what he has to do, not what sort of style his opponent possesses. "He'll be trying to upset me, an Olympian," Browne said.

The young boxer signed on with super-advisor Al Haymon, so if he proceeds according to expectation, he will be making XL fat purses in a couple years. What will he do with this first pro paycheck? "Of course, I have to pay rent to my mom and I'll put some money into my 401k as well as my life insurance policy," he said. "I'm not planning in leaving anytime soon, though."

Mentally, he was and is affected like everyone who was in Sandy's path; his family emerged basically unscathed, though his mom's SI soul food restaurant lost lots of supplies because the electricity was out. "Food can be replaced, though," he noted. Some of his friends lost their homes, so he will be fighting for himself Friday, but also for a larger cause.

"I'm fighting for me, myself, but also for everyone in NYC, especially in Staten Island. Some will live vicariously through me," he said. "I want to say to the people of New York and New Jersey, stay in great spirits, keep your head up, we will bounce back."

Showtime will televise the Browne fight on a card which also features debuting Olympians Dominic Breazeale, Terrell Gausha, Errol Spence and Rau'Shee Warren.