Gary Russell Jr. wants Jhonny Gonzalez next, then Mares
By Dan Ambrose: Unbeaten featherweight contender, #2 WBO, #3 WBA, #4 WBC, #8 IBF, Gary Russell Jr. (23-0, 13 KO’s) says he’s ready to step it up and face WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez (55-8, 47 KO’s) in his next fight if the 31-year-old Gonzalez will accept his challenge.
Russell Jr., 25, thinks Gonzalez is vulnerable and he’s convinced that he can beat him. Russell Jr. is so convinced that he can beat him, he’s talking about wanting to fight Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14 KO’s) in his first defense of his WBC title.
Russell Jr. said to RingTV “I’m going to beat Jhonny Gonzalez. I’m going to beat that a**…We’re doing everything in our power to make out next fight with Jhonny Gonzalez. Do you know who I would fight immediately after Jhonny Gonzalez? Abner. I would give Abner an immediate opportunity to fight me.”
It looks Russell Jr. is getting way ahead of himself. He first needs to get the fight against Gonzalez, and then start hoping he can come up with a good game plan to try and beat him, because if he makes a mistake like Mares did, he’ll get knocked out.
Russell Jr. has taken a ton of heat in the media for facing 4 years’ weak opponents. He’s not been moved ahead by his promoters for some reason. Earlier this year, Russell Jr. was given a slight step up in competition against Vyacheslav Gusev, but after he beat him, Russell Jr. was once again put back in with a weak opponent in Juan Ruiz (23-12, 7 KO’s), and you have to wonder what’s going on with him for his promoters to be bringing him along so slowly.
Did they see him get hurt in sparring by big punchers or are they just looking to inflate his resume as much as possible hoping to get a big payday for him based on a glossy record? It’s difficult to say. But it’s probably not a good idea for Russell Jr. to be put in with a puncher like Jhonny Gonzalez in his first fight against a quality opponent, because this is too much of a step up for Russell Jr. He could get hurt in this fight if it gets made.