Marcus Browne: Boxing Man

By Robert Mladinich on June 21, 2012
Marcus Browne: Boxing Man
Active NYPD Lt. Dave Siev, Marcus Browne, and retired NYPD Sgt. Pat Russo (Mladinich)

When the Police Athletic League (PAL) shut down its boxing program because of safety and budgetary concerns in 2007, retired NYPD Sgt. Pat Russo, who headed the program for 20 years, refused to forget about the scores of young athletes who turned to those gyms as a respite from the sordid temptations of the street.

He and Dave Siev, a still active NYPD lieutenant, who served as the directors and trainers for the NYPD Fighting Finest boxing team, boxing commentator and philanthropist Teddy Atlas, and attorney Keith Sullivan brainstormed a way to keep some semblance of the program going. With the assistance of the Theodore A. Atlas Foundation, the pro bono services of Sullivan, and endless hours of sweat equity from Russo, Siev and others, four boxing gyms, under the auspices of the Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program, have been opened in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

To call the program an unmitigated success would be the understatement of the year. Despite being just a few years old, it has saved hundreds of youngsters from untold troubles. And this summer, light heavyweight Marcus Browne, a product of the Park Hill Boxing Club in Staten Island, will represent the United States at the Olympic Games in London.

“The Cops and Kids Program means everything to me,” said the 21-year-old Browne, an extremely likeable, intelligent and talented young man with a megawatt smile that seems tailor-made for a cereal box should he return from England with a gold medal.

“I was like so many other kids who came into the gym and didn’t say a word for several months,” he explained. “But once you develop skills and begin to feel comfortable, you can’t stop talking because you are so full of confidence. Boxing made me a man.”

“Having Marcus represent the program, as well as our country, at the Olympics means everything to us,” said Russo. “I still remember when I first met him. I wasn’t as impressed with his natural talent as I was with his motivation and his desire to learn. He gradually developed into a great fighter and a natural leader. I always tell him that he has broad shoulders, and he’s now a great role model for other kids.”

Russo, however, refuses to take full credit for Browne’s success. He has high praise for the fighter’s parents, Patrick Browne and Doris Jeffrey, who Russo says “did a great job” with their son.

“We just helped out,” explained Russo, who said it is also necessary to thank all of the police officers who pitched in to get the Cops and Kids program rolling.

“The work that Dave Siev and Pat Russo have done is astounding,” said Ed Mullins, the president of the NYC Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), which has been a steadfast supporter of the program. “They are tireless in their efforts to help New York City kids in so many ways. It’s hard to measure their success because there are no statistics to account for the kids who stay out of trouble because they have a gym to go to, but I guarantee that the list of people whose lives they have helped improve is very long.”

Attorney Sullivan, a partner in Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP, is known for his many altruistic endeavors including work on behalf of New York firefighters and the Wounded Warrior Project. While he would love to see Browne return from London with a gold medal before moving onto a lucrative professional career, the basis of his involvement in Cops and Kids has little to do with medals or money.

“We are immensely proud of Marcus and all that he has accomplished, as well as what he will accomplish in the future,” said Sullivan. “But we are equally proud of the participants in the program who stay out of trouble, develop confidence in themselves and go on to lead productive lives as teachers, firefighters, police officers, construction workers, elevator operators, attorneys, doctors or whatever other dreams they choose to pursue.”

To make a donation to the Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program, you can send a check to the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation, 543 Cary Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10310, phone 718-980-7037, email, or log onto the website at

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  1. The Thresher 11:02am, 06/22/2012

    Very soulful stuff from a soulful guy!

  2. mikecasey 04:26am, 06/22/2012

    Nice article, Robert. Agree with Paul’s sentiments below.

  3. paul 10:14pm, 06/21/2012

    Interesting and refreshing article in a boxing world currently suffocated by ‘business’. This is what it’s all about. Blood and sweat for the sake of blood and sweat. However the videos are not viewable in Czech Republic unfortunately.

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