The other day I asked a tri-captain of the US Olympic boxing team, Jamel Herring, who had the best chance to come home from the London Games with a gold medal. Rau'shee Warren, he told me. I asked the same question of fellow Olympian and fellow New Yorker Marcus Browne, America's entrant in the light heavyweight division. He thought about it for half a second and said, "Marcus Browne."
I chuckled, and said, "Right answer." Not that Herring's was wrong; as a captain, as an elder statesman on the squad, having the moral heft that comes with serving two tours as a marine in Iraq, I'd expect Herring to go the route he did. But the Staten Islander, Browne, has a confidence, which he takes pains to ensure it doesn't veer into cockiness territory, which might well help elevate him to the top podium in London next month.
After the first of three workouts scheduled for the day, Browne chatted with me on the phone, and explained why he thinks he has the best chance to bring home the shiniest bauble. "I'm putting in all this work, and I know it's not easy," he said. "Sometime you want to rest, but I still get up, make appropriate sacrifices to be on the podium. It's not a guarantee, but I believe in myself."
The winner of the 2012 nationals told NYFightBlog that training camp in Colorado, where he's been since Sunday, has been no piece of cake. Along those lines, he's missing some of his friends and family at home, and some of his mom's signature cooking. She, as a matter of fact, opened up a restaurant, Mona's Cuisine, on SI a month ago and Marcus is missing some of that jerk chicken with rice and gravy she offers there. "I miss that food," he told me. "I Tweeted that yesterday."
Oh, the sacrifices made to get gold.