Gary Russell Jr: Does he match-up against the elite?
(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime) By Sebastian Mora: – First and foremost I would like to congratulate Gary Russell Jr. (26-1, 15 KOs) for proving a lot of people wrong with his 4th round knockout win over WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez (57-9, 48 KOs) at the Palms Casino Resort, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, and for coming stronger and better after his first loss as pro.
Last night, Russell Jr. showed that not only can he beat you with speed and decent skills, but he can also sit in there and get you out. The fans knew he had K.O power, but a lot of them felt it was mostly due to the soft opposition that he was fed prior to his bout against last year Vasyl Lomachenko, and last Saturday night we found out that he can also use that combination of speed, power and skill against a proven veteran, that most people felt was going to win via a knockout.
Now, the question I ask myself without taking credit away from Russell Jr. is can he do all that against an opponent that has better skills than him, that can match his speed, and has better ring IQ? It would be hard to think of one boxer that can match those 3 strengths, but unfortunately for Russell Jr. there are two boxers that in my humble opinion are still too much for Russell Jr.
One is Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell Jr. stated that he was not 100% ready for that fight due to him being in the sauna for too long. First of all with all due respect, I don`t believe that is true. Russell Jr and his team are not boxing rookies, they are a professional team that have been with their fighter since his Amateur days, so I don`t think they would let a Strength & Conditioning coach do that to Russell Jr. before his biggest fight. I mean, even a person that has not been around the sport for too long, knows that loosing weight in a sauna is not a great idea. Also he was very confident before the fight, because of the fact the Lomachenko did not have pro `experience.`
The number two is WBA/WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo “EL CHACAL” Rigondeaux. You have to remember, guys like Russell are not anything new to Rigoondeaux and Lomachenko. They’ve dealt with fighters like him in the amateur system their whole life. The question is, can Russell beat an opponent that has better skills, and can maybe even match his speed? Not to forget better ring IQ. (At least that is what they have showed so far)
Johnny Gonzalez is a proven Mexican warrior that had the odds in his favor, and Gary Russell Jr. did not let that bother him and made it look easy. However, as tough as the Mexican is, he is not half of the boxer Lomachenko and Rigondeaux are. I think if any of the two fights would happen (Russell Vs Loma – Russell Vs Rigondeaux) we would see that those two are in a league of their own. However Gary Russell Jr. Speed and power will keep things heated.