By: Hans Themistode
Gary Russell Jr’s featherweight title reign has been mired in both greatness and disappointment. The five year WBC belt holder has consistently dazzled his fans with jaw dropping performances, but has also habitually shown up to work just one time per year.
The Maryland native has failed to make more than one ring appearance during his championship reign, and with a February title defense against Tugstsogt Nyambayar, there is reason to believe that he has already completed his yearly obligations.
The opportunity to pad both his bank account and fight record with shoddy opponents are on the table. But nothing about that statement interests Russell Jr. Names such as Leo Santa Cruz and Josh Warrington on the other hand, gets his motor going.
Yet for those aforementioned fighters however, their motor seems to stall whenever his name is spoken.
“We gotta get one of these suckers to say they wanna fight me. I’m willing to fight anybody,” said Russell Jr. in an interview with Barbershop Conversations.
Fighting anyone, apparently branches out far beyond the land of 126 pounders. With no big name opponents in sight, Russell has turned his attention towards another weight division. Moving up one or even two weight classes won’t bring the sort of names to the table that he is looking for. So instead, Russell Jr. is not only eyeing a move to 140 pounds, but he also had an opponent an opponent in mind.
“I had a conversation with Al, and I told him that I will move up in weight. I’m not getting any fights in the weight division that I’m in. I wouldn’t mind moving up to 140, I’ll fight Adrien Broner if he wanted. Al told me that he reached out to Adrien and gave him the opportunity to take the fight but for whatever reason he turned it down. So again, from 126 all the way up to 140, you got suckers ducking, point blank period.”
For Broner, he’s been sitting on the shelf for over a year and a half. Following losses to Mikey Garcia and Manny Pacquiao with a majority decision draw against Jessie Vargas sandwiched in between, Broner has traded in his boxing gloves for a microphone as he has been focusing on his rap career.
The former four division world champion has made numerous claims over the past few months that he would be willing to leave the recording studio to enter the gym, provided of course, he was compensated with ten million dollars for his efforts.
While it’s unclear if his money demands will be met, Russell Jr. is offering Broner something else. A big time opportunity.
“He ain’t had a relevant fight in I don’t know how long. He lost his last what? Three or four fights and split draw with the other dude? Come on man. I believe in my skillset and talent no matter what weight division I’m fighting in.”