By: Hans Themistode
For most boxers, the goals are all the same. Beat every fighter that’s placed in front of them, pick up numerous world titles and collect a boatload of cash along the way. But while those aforementioned goals are near the top of their list, many of them crave recognition in the form of the pound for pound list.
With 17 total weight classes in the sport, naturally, not all fighters can face one another due to the discrepancy in weight. To blur the lines and allow for a fair comparison, the pound for pound list takes a look at a fighter’s skillset, accomplishments and a number of other factors before ultimately ranking who is the best in the world regardless of weight classes. Although several fighters are hell-bent on making an appearance on the list, Gary Russell Jr. couldn’t care less.
While he agrees that the pound for pound list is meant to rank the best fighters in the world, he simply doesn’t respect any list that doesn’t have his name plastered to it.
“I pay the pound for pound list no mind at all,” said Russell Jr. during an interview with FightHype.com. “I don’t care about the pound for pound list at all. The pound for pound list means nothing. Mr. Gary Russell Jr. is hands down one of the nicest, intellectual fighters in the sport of boxing and he’s not on the pound for pound list so clearly it’s about popularity.”
Regardless of whether ESPN, the Boxing Writers Association of America or any other reputable source releases a pound for pound list, Russell Jr. is often left off. While the skills and talent are still present, the WBC featherweight belt holder has seldom shown it. For the past six years, Russell Jr. has stepped into the ring just once annually. With no fights currently lined up on his 2021 calendar, he appears to be gearing to make it seven years in a row.
In spite of his inactivity, Russell Jr. continues to push the narrative that the names associated with the pound for pound list have more to do with the number of eyeballs that tune in to see them fight as opposed to the actual skills they place on display in the ring.
“It’s not about skills, it has nothing to do with skills. Anybody that’s on the pound for pound list has nothing to do with skill, it’s about popularity so I can care less.”
Even with Russell Jr. continuing to point an incredulous finger towards the pound for pound list and what he perceives it to be as being blatantly flippant, he still respects several of the fighters that are on said list, including the consensus best fighter in the world.
“I like Canelo,” continued Russell Jr. “I think he fought enough dogs to be part of the pound for pound list.”
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