On Saturday Night, September 24, Duva Boxing will showcase two heavyweight fighters whom they consider family. The first one we all know, Sam Peter, will be stepping up to face his biggest challenge to date in Wladimir Klitschko. The second is one you may not have heard of just yet. His name is Michael Marrone from Vero Beach, FL. Marrone will be taking on his toughest challenge to date as well against Adam Smith. While Smith is not a world beater, this will be Marrone’s first fight scheduled for eight rounds.
To give a little background on Michael Marrone, he’s been fighting since he was nine in Gus Curren’s gym in Vero Beach. While growing up, Marrone had the opportunity to watch Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Vernon Forrest and Dominic Guinn to name a few. Marrone used to ask Lou Duva if he could help out one way or the other and so Lou allowed Michael to hold punch counters and carry spit buckets. As an amateur, Michael won the National Golden Gloves Championships in 2003 at the age of seventeen.
Marrone turned pro last year compiling a record of 10-0 with 9 KO’s after failing to make the US Olympic Team. Marrone’s combinations to the head and body are quickly proving that he has more of the style of a professional fighter than of an amateur. Out of his nine knockouts, six of them have come in the first round. His last outing he dominated Forrest Neal and knocked Neal out in the third round with an aggressive attack of combinations and speed. Immediately following the fight, Marrone told Boxingtalk “I never look for a knock, I throw combinations and if it comes it comes.” He also declared “I intend to be heavyweight champ of the world.”
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Michael Marrone is not his boxing ability. Don’t take that the wrong way, Marrone has all the tools needed to be successful in the ring. However, talking to this young man and watching how he carries himself you notice right away his maturity. At the tender age of nineteen, Michael is as mature of a man as any veteran of the sport. He has stayed clear of drugs and alcohol while growing as an individual. Gus Curren, trainer and manager of Marrone, told Boxingtalk that a few years ago Michael did need some maturing to do, however, now Michael has matured into a good man and a good ambassador of the sport. Curren went on to say that Marrone helps train amateurs, white collar boxers and goes to the local schools to speak to the students about living clean lifestyles.
Being nineteen has its disadvantages though. The biggest disadvantage is the fact that Marrone has yet to fully grow into his body. Michael weighed in at 212 pounds for his fight with Forrest Neal and expects to weigh around 217 for the Smith fight. When asked if he thought about a possible campaign at cruiserweight Marrone commented “I’m always in great shape. If they asked me to fight on two days notice I could because I’m always in the gym. That’s one of the reasons why my weight is low.” Gus Curren commented that he doesn’t want to hinder the growth of Marrone by making him fight as a cruiserweight. Gus told Boxingtalk, “Michael has a size 14 shoe and lifts as much as the big heavyweights. When he’s in the gym sparring, he is sparring with big heavyweights like Timo Hoffman.” Another part of not having grown into his body is Marrone’s biggest problem, He doesn’t have proper balance. To combat this Marrone does ballet.
Marrone was asked if he anticipated any problems with going the eight rounds and he commented, “I’m actually excited to be fighting eight rounds because I am a body puncher and body punches are like putting money in the bank and with a longer fight I will get to see the dividends of my work.” Curren stated that he has prepared Marrone for eight hard rounds, “Whether it ends in the second round or goes all eight Michael will be ready.”
So while the world will watching Samuel Peter and Wladimir Klitschko bang it out in the main event, the crowd in Atlantic City will witness the younger Duva prospect’s next step to towards heavyweight contention. The future is uncertain for Marrone; nonetheless, with his maturity, lifestyle and work ethic it will be a matter of time before he makes a bigger name for himself.
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