By: Hans Themistode
Devin Haney plopped into a comfortable chair in his palatial estate and eagerly turned on the action.
Last weekend, at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, Gary Russell Jr. attempted to defend his WBC featherweight crown against mandatory challenger Mark Magsayo. Heading in, the long-reigning champion was viewed as a sizable favorite. However, prior to stepping foot inside the ring, Russell Jr. warned his fans that he wouldn’t be at his physical best.
Still, despite his confession, Russell Jr. assured all who would listen that his pre-fight injury would not be a determining factor in the outcome of his title defense.
Early on, Russell Jr. appeared to be fine. His blinding speed was still ostensibly there and there weren’t any signs of an injury. However, at the midway point of the fourth round, Russell Jr. grimaced in pain and pointed to his right shoulder.
Although ring physicians were concerned for his well-being, Russell Jr. shrugged them off and proceeded to fight Magsayo with only one hand. From the fifth round on, the Maryland product boxed, moved, and landed numerous left hands throughout the night. Immediately after, he revealed that he suffered the shoulder injury two weeks prior to the fight.
While he believed he did more than enough to win, he was incredulous as it was announced that his reign had officially come to an end via majority decision. The moment the scorecards were read, Haney couldn’t stop himself from laughing. The current WBC lightweight champion piled onto the injury-hit Russell Jr. while simultaneously taking a shot at the newly crowned 126 pound belt holder.
“Gary Russell lost to a bum,” said Haney on his social media account.
For the better part of a year and a half, both Russell Jr. and Haney have thrown warning shots at one another over social media. Although they campaign two weight classes apart, Russell Jr. stated on numerous occasions that he would be more than willing to move up to the 135 pound weight division to challenge Haney for his crown.
In spite of Russell Jr.’s callouts, Haney believes the now former champion was never truly interested in facing him. Although a showdown between the pair could become a reality at some point in the future, Haney is focusing most of his attention on becoming an undisputed champion.
The 23-year-old belt holder has consistently and publicly urged current unified champion George Kambosos Jr. to face him. Haney has also revealed that he would have no issue with stomping into the Australian backyard of Kambosos Jr. and stripping him of his championship status in front of his adoring fans.
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