Gary Russell Jr. Discusses Showdown With Kiko Martinez And Future Fights
By: Hans Themistode
WBC Featherweight champion, Gary Russell Jr (29-1) will make his annual appearance in the ring this coming Saturday night on March 18th, when he takes on former champion Kiko Martinez (39-8-2, 28 KOs). Their contest will be taking place at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Martinez hasn’t held a world title in over five years, he also hasn’t faced anyone of note since a 2017 majority loss to Josh Warrington. This matchup is widely regarded as a mismatch. Although Martinez is just 33 years of age, his fight against Russell will be the 50th of his long career. Since a 2014 loss at the hands of Vasiliy Lomachenko back in 2014, Russell has been nothing short of dominant. He has reeled off five straight wins with three of those victories coming via stoppage.
The problem for Russell is not his talent, but it is his activity level. He has fought just once a year since 2015. High level professional fighters aren’t known for having a rigorous fight schedule. Most step inside of the ring two or three times during a calendar year. Russell’s lack of fights over the years is alarming. If it was up to the current WBC champion he would be much more active. So who exactly is to blame for his lack of activity?
“We have to get one of these fighters to get in the ring. People keep asking why do I compete once a year? It’s not because of me, it’s because none of these fighters are willing to get in the ring and compete against me. None of these champions want to get in the ring with me.”
Russell is a tremendous fighter. He is mostly regarded as possessing the fastest hands in all of boxing. In terms of who exactly are these other champions that don’t want to face him inside of the squared circle, Russell didn’t mince words.
“I wanted Leo Santa Cruz, I wanted Carl Frampton when he was a champion. I want everyone. It seems like I will never get the Cruz fight.”
The frustrations for Russell have seemed to reach their breaking point. The current belt holder has a plan if he doesn’t get the unification bouts that he desires.
“After this Kiko Martinez fight, if I don’t immediately get Leo Santa Cruz then I am vacating my title and I will be moving up to challenge Miguel Berchelt for his WBC title. From there hopefully I can land the Gervonta Davis fight because that is a fight I want as well.”
It sounds as though Russell has his eyes set on bigger and better things going forward. Whether it is a unification fight at 126 or a host of new challenges at 130. The first step however, he must get past the rugged and battle tested veteran Kiko Martinez. According to Russell, don’t expect this contest to go the distance.
“I can’t predict how this fight will go exactly but I don’t think it will last all 12 rounds. I just don’t believe that this guy has the skillset to last all 12 rounds with me.”
Showtime Boxing Preview: Wilder vs. Breazeale, Russell vs. Martinez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York will host a heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
This bout will be put on by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and will be televised live on Showtime.
Garry Russell Jr. will also be appearing on the card and will take on Kiko Martinez for Russell’s WBC Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both title bouts.
Gary Russell Jr.(29-1) vs. Kiko Martinez (39-8-2); WBC Featherweight Title
Whenever the name of Gary Russell Jr. comes up a debate follows if he’s a legitimate pound for pound fighter or not.
He’s a boxer who’s only blemish on his record came at the hands Vasily Lomachenko, a fighter most will agree is a pound for pound great. However, he’s also a boxer that has only fought once a year since 2015 and frustrates fans for his inactivity.
Russell will be facing Kiko Martinez on Saturday, a 33 year old boxer with eight losses on his resume and five of those losses coming since 2013. Martinez has been very active, as he fought twice in 2018 and three times in 2017. Martinez will also have about a two inch reach advantage and a half inch height advantage over Russell.
However, Russell has a clear edge in his resume of defeated opponents and amateur background. He won several national tournaments as an amateur in the United States and represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Martinez does not have the amateur pedigree of Russell.
Russell has defeated the likes of Joseph Diaz, Oscar Escandon, Patrick Hyland, Jhonny Gonzalez, and Christopher Martin. Martinez has defeated the likes of Marc Vidal, Hozumi Hasegawa, Jeffrey Mathebula, and Jhonatan Romero. He has losses to the likes of Carl Frampton (twice), Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, and Josh Warrington.
Even though Martinez has been more active than Russell, he doesn’t’ have the talent of Russell and has several losses and draws in recent years, including two losses by stoppage. This shouldn’t be a fight that Russell will have issues in.
Deontay Wilder (40-0-1) vs. Dominic Breazeale (20-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
This won’t be Dominic Breazeale’s first chance at a heavyweight title. When he last challenged for the heavyweight title he was stopped in the seventh round by Anthony Joshua.
On paper, it appears unlikely this fight will be much different.
Breazeale has power, as he has stopped eighteen of his opponents, but he also can be stopped, as he only made it to the seventh round when he faced Anthony Joshua. He’ll need a strong chin when he faces Wilder, who has stopped thirty nine of the forty opponents he has faced, and even knocked down Tyson Fury in their disputed draw.
Both boxers stand at 6’7” and Wilder will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage. Wilder fought twice in 2018 and in 2017 while Breazeale only fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Both boxers represented the United States in the Olympics. Wilder competed in the 2008 Olympics while Breazeale competed in the 2012 Olympics. Wilder however was able to medal while Breazeale did not.
Wilder has beaten the likes of Luis Ortiz, Bermane Stiverne, Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Breazeale has beaten the likes of Carlos Negron, Eric Molina, Izuagbe Ugonoh, Amir Mansour, Fred Kassi, Yasmany Consuegra, and Victor Bisbal.
Wilder is looking for a big money fight but has remained steadfastly loyal to Al Haymon and Showtime. Dominic Breazeale stands in his way of that big money fight, but it’s an obstacle that Wilder should be able to overcome.
Gary Cully Impresses in Belfast as Conrad Cummings Claims European Glory
By: Oliver McManus
MTK Global returned swiftly to Belfast as they promoted their penultimate show before Christmas featuring some of the hottest talent from both sides of the Irish border.
Conrad Cummings initially stepped in to fill the boots of Luke Keeler in a contest for the WBO European Middleweight belt against Brian Rose – that contest scheduled for December 14th. Fight week saw Rose withdrew citing injury and in came, unbeaten Hungarian, Ferenc Berki to keep the title fight alive.
On the scales and in the ring, Cummings looked far more physically impressive than his counterpart but Berki came to win, despite assumptions, as he tried to work a nice, downward right hand for much of the first round. A tentative opening couple of rounds saw both fighters looking to stake a foothold in the bout without expending too much energy.
Berki, the Hungarian national champion at welterweight, entered the ring for the first time in 10 months and, unquestionably, against the significantly best opponent of his career. Whilst the initial energy manifested itself in trying to experiment, almost, through the motions, it was Cummings who fought well from behind the guard.
Principaly targeting the body shot, Berki found his mark with a repeated left hook but seemed to register little in way of response from his 27 year old counterpart.
An argument could be made for Cummings to do more passive work, utilising the jab more frequently, but seemed like doing enough throughout the rounds to nab them on the scorecards. A tepid first half of the fight saw the bout fail to ignite as one might have hoped but Cummings carried out the necessary work – he didn’t do it with a particular explosivity, mind, but was doing well against an opponent who refused to engage.
The second half saw Cummings more lucid in his movement, leaning back with a relaxed upper body as he began to move with more freedom. In turn we witnessed small pockets of activity from Berki but, in honestly, the Hungarian’s shots seemed to be thrown without full commitment.
The ninth round saw the home fighter continuing to impose his game plan of relaxed counter boxing against a fighter who, he knew, was posing very little threat. A fresher, fitter fighter from fights previously, it was clear to see that Cummings had full-belief in his ability to out-work his opponent and never looked like forcing the cause.
In the final round Berki came out knowing that only a knockout would do and upped the work-rate, met in turn by an increased aggression from Cummings who carried the rounds. With 40 seconds left saw the away fighter land the only shot of note, from his side, as he shimmed on the ropes and sunk three left hooks towards Dynamite, forcing him to take a knee.
An accomplished performance from Conrad Cummings who boxed effectively to nullify an opponent who very little to work around. Marred only by the momentary blip in conversation in the final round, Cummings looked to have plenty left in the tank if required.
99-90, 98-91 and a, oddly close, 95-94 saw the Craigavon-born man claim the WBO European Middleweight title.
Gary Cully has begun to impose himself on the domestic lightweight scene with the southpaw moving to six and 0 before his fight with Mohammed Kambuluta. The Tanzanian boxer represented a step up for the Irishman but it was Cully who went into the year-ending fight full of confidence.
Fresh off a third round knockout over Jordan Ellison on October 5th, Cully was in no mood for to play the waiting game with the 22 year old looking to close out, four fight 2018, in style. Kambuluta emerged swinging wildly as Cully stood, the taller man, at the centre of the ring. Long and rangy from the southpaw stance, Cully landed a repetitive reaching right-hand in the early stages in place of his jab.
Keeping mobile, it wasn’t long until the Naas native landed a well-placed left-hook out of the break to drop his travelling opponent and, with the challenger rushing on, he dropped Kambulta with an rapid, in the pocket, combination of shots.
Looking like he wanted out of the fight, it would take one more push from Cully to finish the job and so it proved with the MTK prospect landing accurately with the left, throwing quickly and accurate to fore Kambuluta to the canvas for a third time – the referee stopping the contest with 12 seconds to spare of the first round.
Gary Cully moves to 7 and 0 in the lightweight division with a classy victory – the 22 year old should look above himself for fights in 2019 because, certainly, he has all the talent required to make the step up in class.
Third on the bill was Padraig McCrory, fighting at super middle, in his sixth professional encounter. With slots on BT Sport this year and Sky Sports last year, McCrory is already making the move into the limelight as he continues his development.
Opposite him was Gabor Detre, a Hungarian with a winning record of 5 and 4, and The Hammer looked to make short work of his opponent. Immediately positioning himself at the centre of the ring, the taller frame of McCrory looked honed in on his target from the off.
A stiff right hand hook, one minute in, landed square to the side of Detre’s face to rock his opponent. The legs began to weaken as McCrory loaded up with each and every shot, fainting out the left jab in between. A heavy right to the body of Detre saw the Hungarian get fatigued and, in rather anti-climatic scenes, the referee called the fight off with just over a minute left off the first round.
An understandable stoppage with Detre getting hurt by each shot, McCrory advanced his record to 6 and 0, three wins by knockout, to set up a blockbuster 2019.
The other fights on the bill saw Sean McComb take a step up fight against, ever game, Zoltan Szabo in a free-flowing fight. A comfortable night for the super lightweight prospect who moved to 5 and 0 thanks to a 60-53 win. Paddy Gallagher worked through the motions over six rounds against Fernando Valencia, landing with heavy hands, to secure a 60-54 decision. Philip Sutcliffe Jr returned to the ring after after 53 weeks out, the super lightweight looked to draw his opponent in and claimed every round to win by a margin of 40-36. Stevie Collins Jr’s fight witnessed momentary confusion with the opponent led to believe the bout was scheduled for four. Six it went with Collins winning 60-54. Making his debut on the card was Stephen Webb, nephew of Commonwealth Games champion Jim, who floated in and out of range to secure the victory by 40-36.
HBO PPV Preview: Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Rematch, Plus Full Undercard
By: William Holmes
Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin PPV
HBO PPV: $84.95
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Start time: 8PM ET/ 5PM PT
TV Undercard: Jaime Munguia vs Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook
David Lemieux vs Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs Moises “Moi” Fuentes
On Saturday, September 15th the long awaited rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will finally occur for Golovkin’s WBA and WBC Middleweight Titles.
They were originally to fight on May 5th, but a positive test for clenbuterol scuttled those plans. Canelo claimed the trace levels detected were due to contaminated meat, which was met with some skepticism by Golovkin and his team.
Jaime Mungui and Brandon Cook will meet in the co-main event of the night for Munguia’s WBO Junior Middleweight World Title. David Lemieux and Gary O’Sullivan will also meet in a middleweight bout with possible future title implications.
Other boxers such as Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Moises Fuentes, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Alexis Rocha, and Brian Ceballo will also be featured on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the three top fights for Saturday’s HBO PPV offering.
David Lemieux (39-4) vs. Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2); Middleweights
David Lemieux is only twenty nine years old, and will be five years older than Gary O’Sullivan come fight night, but in ring years he’s significantly older. He’s been in some tough fights with some tough competition and already has thirteen more professional fights than O’Sullivan.
They’re about the same size, O’Sullivan will have a slight ½ inch height advantage. They both have decent power. Lemieux has stopped thirty three of his opponents while O’Sullivan has stopped twenty. However, Lemieux only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights while O’Sullivan has five victories in a row by stoppage.
They also have both been stopped. Lemieux has two stoppage losses while O’Sullivan has one stoppage loss on his record.
They both have been fairly active. He fought once in 2018, three times in 2017, and twice in 2016. O’Sullivan fought once in 2018, four times in 2017, and once in 2016.
Lemieux does have an edge in amateur experience. He won the Canadian National Junior Championships in 2006 while O’Sullivan does not have any notable amateur accomplishments.
Lemieux’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders, Gennady Golovkin, and earlier in his career to Joachim Alcine and Marco Antonio Rubion. He has beaten the likes of Elvin Ayala, Hector Camacho Jr., Fernando Guerrero, Gabriel Rosado, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Glen Tapia, Curtis Stevens, and Karim Achour.
O’Sullivan’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr. He has defeated the likes of Berlin Abreu, Antoine Douglas, Nick Quigley, Melvin Bentancourt, and Matthew Hall.
If this fight happened three years ago Lemieux would be considered the favorite. But he looked slow and old in his loss to Billy Joe Saunders and he is starting to show signs of ring wear. O’Sullivan on the other hand, has been riding a good win streak and looked sensational against a solid young prospect in Antoine Douglas.
This writer has to pick O’Sullivan in a minor upset.
Jaime Munguia (30-0) vs. Brandon Cook (20-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
Jaime Munguia is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ best young fighters and at the age of twenty one is already a legitimate world champion.
He has exceptional power. He has twenty five stoppage wins and has stopped six of his past seven opponents. He’s also eleven years younger than his opponent Brandon Cook, who only has thirteen stoppage wins, and already has one stoppage loss.
Munguia has been incredibly active. He already fought four times in 2018 and fought seven times in 2017. Cook has also been active and fought once in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Munguia has the better amateur pedigree. He was a Gold Medalist in the Mexican National Championships and turned pro at the age of 16.
Cook’s lone loss was to Kanat Islam by TKO in 2017. He doesn’t have any big victories of note, he has defeated the likes of Miguel Suarez, Steven Butler, and Hector Santana.
Munguia has defeated the likes of Liam Smith, Sadam Ali, Jose Paz, Paul Valenzuela Jr., and Johnny Navarrete.
On paper, it’s hard to find anything that Bradon Cook does better than Jaime Munguia. It’s likely we will see that in the ring too.
Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1) vs. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2); WBA/WBC Middleweight Title
Gennady Golovkin has to be considered one of, if not the best middleweight boxers in the 21st century. However, he doesn’t have that big signature win over an exceptional opponent on his resume.
Many thought he did enough to beat Canelo last year, but Canelo came on strong in the later rounds and was able to make the fight a draw.
Both boxers have good power. Golovkin has stopped thirty four of his opponents, though his power seems to be slipping recently. Canelo also has thirty four stoppage wins. Neither boxer has ever been stopped in their career.
Canelo will have a slight ½ inch reach advantage, but will also be giving up about two inches in height. Canelo will be eight years younger than Golovkin on Saturday, and Golovkin may be showing some signs of rust in his armor with his advancing age.
Golovkin has the better amateur career of the two. He was a silver medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Canelo turned professional at a young age, but did win the 2005 Junior Mexican National Championships.
Golovkin has beaten the likes of Vanes Martirosyan, Daniel Jacobs, Kell Brook, Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, and Gabriel Rosado. He has fought twice a year in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Canelo has beaten the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, and Kermit Cintron. His lone loss was the Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he had a draw very early in his career to a Jorge Juarez.
Both boxers seem motivated and have a genuine dislike of each other since Canelo’s positive steroid test in the spring. In their last fight they appeared to be very respectful towards each other, almost too much.
Golovkin’s age is a big concern and his best days are likely behind him. Canelo also appeared to have figured out Golovkin by the end of the fight and was coming on strong. The fight fans in attendance will also likely be in favor of Canelo over Golovkin.
The intangibles favor Canelo,but it’s hard to pick against a man that has never lost and looked absolutely dominating at times.
This is basically an even fight, but this writer has to give the slightest of edges to Golovkin, only because it appeared that Golovkin should have received the decision last time.
Lemieux, O’Sullivan Trade Barbs On Conference Call
by: Sean Crose
“Lemieux is back!” middleweight David Lemieux said on a Wednesday conference call.”
“You’ll be on your back,” clipped Gary ‘Spike’ “O’Sullivan, his opponent on the September 15th Canelo-GGG undercard at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It was that kind of conference call. Both men are exciting fighters, and both men arguably need to win on the 15th if they’re to be taken seriously as middleweight contenders. I asked each fighter if he was focused on the future or on the task at hand. The answers said a lot about each man’s mindset. While Lemieux expressed confidence, O’Sullivan moved in and made matters personal.
“Nothing personal for Mr. Lemieux” he said, “but I think this is going to be a big night for me…I have my mind on the bigger picture.” That big picture, of course, involves the winner of the Canelo-GGG rematch. When asked which man he preferred to fight in the future, O’Sullivan looked to be an equal opportunity opponent. “I have no preference,” he claimed. “They’re both great fighters.” Lemieux, on the other hand, was more discerning. “I want to fight Canelo first,” he claimed, “then I want revenge against GGG.”
Although both men are known to be entertaining in the ring, Wednesday’s call signified a difference in personalities. Where Lemieux clearly preferred to focus on himself and on his own career development, O’Sullivan engaged in the age old tactic of trying to get in his opponent’s head.
“He got destroyed,” O’ Sullivan said, referring to one of Lemieux’s defeats. “He’s going to get destroyed.” The man also pointed out that: “I’ve never been on the canvas in my career…he’s been down several times.” O’Sullivan furthermore stated that “Lemieux’s going to be easier than (Antoine) Douglas.” Tough words, but Lemieux had some choice words of his own.
“Whenever the opposition got tough,” he said of O’Sullivan’s two defeats, “he lost.” When O’Sullivan quipped that he had never been on the mat in his career, Lemieux quickly responded that “there’s a first time for everything.”
“Don’t worry,” he said to his opponent at one point, “I’m going to beat your ass…keep training hard in the gym, you’re going to need it.” O’Sullivan claimed that Lemieux is “there to be hit.” He also added that “I hit hard.”
“The talk is done” said Lemieux at one point. “”Let’s just walk the walk.” The winner may indeed get a crack at the winner of the main event on the 15th. It’s possible the winner may also get a second chance against Billy Joe Saunders, the titlist whose defeated both men,at some point. Although some consider neither Lemieux or O’Sullivan as great fighters, their bout is being viewed as potentially thrilling showdown between two talented, game fighters.
Interview with Gary Rae: A Painter and a Boxer
By: Oliver McManus
On the same card as Josh Taylor vs Viktor Postol, Gary Rae took to the ring for the eight time as a professional boxer with the 29 year old looking to move up the ranks as quickly as possible. A full time painter-decorator, I rang up Gary whilst he was poolside in Tenerife and, whilst I know I’ve got to refrain from too much of an opinion, he has to be one of the nicest guys I’ve met since I’ve started covering the sport of boxing.
Gary is unique in that his trainer, Mark Breslin, has been coaching him since the amateur days – way back in 2010, when the Barrhead super bantamweight first took up boxing – and their relationship, as he goes on to say, has developed to such an extent their like father and son. The following is our conversation, talking everything from last week’s fight, THAT relationship with Mark, targeting titles and, most importantly, what type of sweet he’d be – we’ll start about sixty seconds in;
… “I’m good Gary, I feel like I’ve woken you up!”
No what it is, is, I’m actually on holiday in Tenerife, we’d book it at Christmas time for my mum, my sister, my girlfriend and my eight year old nephew – his first time abroad – and when they first announced the fight it was a strange one, it was originally the 9th June and then they pushed it back a bit and I was flying out at six in the morning on the Sunday (24th) so I had to get from Glasgow back to Barrhead which is around an hour’s drive, pack my suitcase and then get on down to the airport.
How long are you there for?
Just a week, flying back out on Sunday.
I mean, holiday aside, the obvious starting point is the fight on Saturday (against Johnson Tellez), how do you feel it went?
It was great just to get the win, I felt it was a good fight but I was a bit slow to start. He was working well behind the jab and I feel the occasion was a real eye opener for me, I was looking round and thinking “that’s more than my mum and my girlfriend cheering for me”. It was an awesome atmosphere to come out just before Josh but I think I was trying a wee bit too hard for the stoppage. Near the end I was loading up trying to chase Tellez around the ring instead of cutting it off but it was a great experience for me and he was throwing some shots back, caught me with a couple.
He was only small but he really didn’t stop throwing punches, was it hard to get into your rhythm?
Yeah it really was, at the weigh in I knew he was pretty small but when we got into the weigh in I thought “my god, he’s tiny” and from then I knew it would be really difficult to catch him clean, I think a few times it was hard to get down to his level, I’m used to throwing shots straight, but he was so small and I don’t think I’ve even sparred with anyone that small but it was hard work to put punches together.
He could just roll and step out the distance, I have quite long levers but I couldn’t get the distance for a couple rounds; he was throwing the punches and moving around and his shots were ones that could have been dangerous if I wasn’t fully switched on.
I tried to keep it 1, 2, 3, back to basics and keep my distance, land some nice body shots. I haven’t seen it back myself but my coach, Mark (Breslin), was telling me to keep my distance and not to get involved too close because he was worried about head-clashes and getting a cut. I did end up getting a wee lump above my left temple from a clash of head – it was nothing major, it went down after a couple days.
And this was your third fight of 2018, how often can we expect to see you out in the remaining six months?
I would like to be out again as soon as possible, to be honest, I’m always of the opinion that although I still work full time, boxing is my other job and it’s my full time job, too. It’s my job to always be ready to fight – I’m a painter and decorator so at any moment I’ve got to go and paint someone’s house and I think it should be the same the other way round, I should always be ready for a fit. I’m always fit, I’m always in the gym and I live a healthy life so I am always ready whenever I get the opportunity.
Ideally as soon as possible but speaking with Iain Wilson, my promoter, I think he’s having a public show in Paisley Lagoon in October (6th) and I’d like to get out on that after a wee break but as soon as I get home I’ll be back in the gym; it would be great to have two or three by the end of the year, get to 10 and 0 in my second year as a professional, looking at what’s going to come up next and I’m excited to see what we can really do.
Not sure what’s happening with Josh’s world title fight, I see some rumours it may be in New York, but it’ll be great if it’s in Scotland so I can be on the undercard of a world title fight and that would be amazing.
How hard is it to fit training in and around working full time?
Yeah, I can’t lie, it is really hard to get through but as you say it is something I have to get used to because I don’t have loads of money where I can fund being a full time boxer so I work full time, get up at half four in the morning, go and do my training – strength and conditioning or runs – then I go out for eight, nine hours at work, get home and change my clothes and then it’s straight back out sparring, boxing training, strength and conditioning at night.
Every day is planned out from getting up and I try to get to bed as soon as I can, I don’t like to get to bed too late as sleep is really important for recovery and I always have a rest day…
… I have a rest day every Thursday and I’ll always go and visit my gran, go up and have a wee gab with my gran whilst Sunday’s are meal prep day and I’ll make 20-30 meals for the week ahead so, yeah, it is tough work but I love it, I love the sport of boxing and I’m trying to test myself to see how good I am – that’s all it’s ever been about, since the amateur’s and now I’m a bit older than most people at this stage but I’ll give it a good go.
The fight on Saturday was part of a Cyclone Promotions card, live on Channel 5, how did it feel to be on TV or was it just a regular fight?
No it’s a bit of difference, I felt, my first two fights were in Saint Andrews, in Glasgow, and they were broadcast on STV 2 – so not a big channel – but the difference from there to this one was massive, I felt quite a bit nervous and to see all the messages from my friends and family, I was trying not to think about it but I knew everyone back in Barrhead would be watching and wanting me to win and all of a sudden I started thinking “what if I don’t win, what if I don’t perform well” and I had to get rid of those doubts, my coach Mark was telling me it was nothing.
“As soon as you get in that ring it’s just me and you, nothing else matters, just listen to what I say and box well, try and enjoy it but don’t get involved with the crowd” and I think I did that okay, it wasn’t a bad performance, I’d have liked to put together a few more combinations but I did struggle with his height.
As the interview progressed it was clear to see that Gary was one of those guy’s in the professional scene still doing it for the love of boxing as opposed to trying to rake in the big bucks – of course that would be an added bonus but it’s not the driving factor – and there was one distinct inspiration for Gary in his coach Mark Breslin, himself 15 and 0 as a professional, and a man who Gary likens to a father-figure;
For me it’s so important (continuity), I need that. Mark has looked after me since I started boxing in 2010 as an amateur – he had a good amateur, and professional, career, I think he had 15 fights as a pro with 15 wins – he knows what it’s all about but he’s someone I look up to as a father figure. I don’t have a dad in my life and I’ve got a really good bond with Mark, he’s someone who’s got two children himself so he’s like the dad I never had, a really tight relationship, I can speak to him about anything and it’s good to know there’s a mutual trust and genuine care for each other outside of boxing.
Whatever happens Mark will look after me and he knows my mentality and how much I can endure and that we’re not going to fall out over anything because we know each other so well. It’s really great to have that and not many others have that relationship with their coach, other than when they train with their dad, Mark is just loyal to the end.
If we talk about motivation, what is it that gets you through those dark times?
Sometimes if I’m at work, I just sit there and I’m surrounded by paint and I think “I’m going to have work a bit longer, I just won’t go for that run tonight”, when I sit down for five minutes I just think even if I don’t have another opponent I’m always trying to improve, trying to work harder than the next guy to make sure I don’t get beat in the next fight and that’s the way I look at it. If I don’t do it then I’m not going to perform, I’m 100% or nothing with everything I do whether that’s painting or boxing, I always want to do the best job and I will always give 100%, blood, sweat and tears. If I don’t win I want to be able to say it was by the better man not because I didn’t give everything and I will never cut corners, I need to know I’ve given myself the best opportunity.
Super bantamweight at the moment, is there potential for you to move up or down a weight?
They billed the last fight at featherweight, I’ve no idea why…
You weighed in about 123 (lbs) or 124…
Yeah I was eight stone 11 pounds but I was told I could come in up to nine stone – they told me that two weeks before the fight but, by then, I was already down at eight stone nine so I just had a couple days where I could eat and I was eating and drinking. I’m one of these freaks of nature that can still make super-bantam really well, I’m really tall, I think I’m 5”10, I’ve always been slim.
I tell you what, Gary, I’m six foot and I weight about 7st 12lbs…
That’s incredible pal, that’s a proper freak of nature right there. You’ll know what it’s like, then, I’ve got no problem making weight even if I do eat a little bit so I could see myself getting to bantamweight if an opportunity were to pop up but I couldn’t go any lower. If anything were to pop up at bantam, super bantam, even feather, I’m not afraid to shy away from these fights.
Looking at titles then, how long is it before you’re in the mix?
If I’m honest I’m really not sure, I’m ready to fight for the Commonwealth title and I would like that by the end of this year or even next year. I know it was vacant for a while and I was ready, I’m not sure who had it now (Ashley Lane) but I think that could be a title I would be capable of challenging for by the end of this year. I think Thomas Patrick Ward has vacant the (British) title so I feel Jazza Dickens vs Martin Ward, I think Jazza would win that, and it’s been made for the end of July. I think that’s a while away and I need experience before I challenge one of those boys over 12 but I’ve been doing that in sparring. I think I would need more rounds to mentally tick the box to show myself I can deal with the pressure under the lights, I do keep myself fit but I think there would be a difference in the ring mentally, especially when they’ve been there and done it for a few fights, I think a couple of 8-10 round fights then I’d be happy to challenge anyone for anything that came up.
Joe Ham is the Scottish Area champion (although he lost his challenge for the Celtic belt), would you fancy that sort of level or would you rather go straight in with a bigger title?
I’m quite happy to go straight in purely because of my age, I know I don’t really have that long and I would like to just kick on after another couple of fights and try for the bigger fights. I’m not sure if at 34 I still want to be taking punches every other day, working a full time job, I can’t see that happening but if something were to come up, I’m like every other fighter, I dream of a world title but you’ve just got to work towards it and hopefully one day it can materialize, secure me financially for a few years and enable me to do it a bit longer but I can’t see doing a job and boxing AND, potentially, starting a family all at the same time.
When you do retire from fighting would we see you as a trainer, a pundit or would you want to leave the sport behind for good?
Funnily enough one of my amateur coaches has often said he could see me in some capacity after I’ve finished as a fighter and I would love to give back to the Barrhead Amateur Boxing Club and help out there, bring through some young talent from my home town. It gave me so much and there’s plenty of people in Barrhead who go to boxing as a way out from family things, whatever it is, I would love to help out some young boy or girl have a professional career, or even just some amateur titles, to give back to my club that has given me, and still does, give me so much. They’re always watching me, supporting me, asking me questions and have always had my back. They tell me they look up to me and I’m always looking up at them, how strong some of the guys are, it’s a funny circle.
You were on the undercard of Josh Taylor vs Viktor Postol, did you catch that fight?
Me and my coach, and my second, we went out and we had, part of the deal, tickets to see the main event so we stayed and watched it together. It was a great fight and you could really see Josh learning on the job, it was a great fight, for a boxer and a fan to watch, you could see them both thinking and it was a really well matched fight.
I don’t want to get you to say anything controversial but what did you make of the scorecards?
Yeah I thought they were wide, I thought Josh won, don’t get me wrong, but I think Viktor Postol was competitive in every round so I can see, objectively, where some people like you or I would have thought Postol got a round, I can see why other people gave it to Taylor when it was 50-50. I definitely thought once Josh got the knockdown, the championship rounds were all his. I had Josh maybe 115-112, something like that, three rounds but it was a really eachy-peachy fight.
Do you think Josh Taylor is the best fighter in the division?
Oh absolutely, I think when Mikey Garcia moved up earlier in the year you could have said that he was the best but, now he’s back at lightweight, it’s hard not to say Josh is the best in the division.
And I want to end on a random question, if you were a sweet, what sweet would you be?
What sweet, erm, that’s a question.
If it helps I think you’d be a fruit pastille…
A fruit pastille? Ollie, you must be kidding. I tell you what though, I do like a wee kinder Bueno so I reckon that would be a fair shout – I don’t really do sweets but I do like a wee bit of chocolate; not like bars, dairy milk, but, I’ve got to admit, a Bueno is like my cheat food.
Thank you very much Gary, I’ll let you get back on with your holiday – don’t get sunburnt!
No worries Ollie, thank you for the opportunity mate, I’ll speak to you soon.
I don’t quite know how to round up this article, which is odd, but I’ve got to say that Gary, without doubt, is one of the nicest, most personable boxers I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to and there’s not a doubt in my mind that he has all the attributes for a successful career – I’m not quite sure why his nickname is Razor, mind, I think it should be Gary “Bueno” Rae.
Showtime Boxing Results: Russell Defeats Diaz, Stevenson and Jack Battle to a Draw
By: William Holmes
Showtime has shown no signs of slowing down in putting on competitive fights with a split site double header on their Showtime World Championship Boxing telecast.
The opening bout of the night was between Gary Russell Jr. (28-1) and Joseph Diaz (26-0) for the WBC Featherweight Title. This bout took place at The Theater at the MGM Grand National Harbor in Maryland.
Joseph Diaz entered the ring first and Russell second to a much louder ovation.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Both boxers were southpaws and Diaz looked like the bigger fighter, but Russell established early on that he had the better hand speed. He was active with his jab in the opening round and had a strong start to the fight.
Russell continued with his jab in the early parts of the second round, but Diaz had some moderate success to the body and ended the round strong.
The third round was a closer round, but it looked like Diaz was willing to take a few punches from Russell in order to land one punch of his own. Diaz ended the round with two good straight left hands.
Diaz kept a high guard in the fourth and fifth rounds but Russell landed the higher volume of punches while Diaz landed the harder shots to the body. Diaz had a strong fifth round, but Russell came back in the sixth round with his active jab and high volume output.
Russell was the first man to throw and land in the seventh and eighth rounds and looked like he was beginning to walk away with the fight. Russell hand speed was on full display in the ninth round as Diaz was simply not throwing enough punches.
Diaz had a better tenth round and took more risks than earlier rounds, but was also countered more often by the faster Russell.
The final two rounds featured several fierce exchanges, and Russell looked like he was beginning to fade a little bit in the last round, but Diaz wasn’t able to do enough to get a stoppage.
The Judges scored the fight 115-113, 117-111, and 117-111.
The last fight televised by Showtime was a WBC Light Heavyweight Title Fight between Champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1) and challenger Badou Jack (22-1-2) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.
Stevenson, a southpaw, and Jack, fighting out of an orthodox stance, had spent the better part of two rounds feeling each other out and tried to find their range. Stevenson was able to land some straight left hands in the second and was more active in the third, but Jack was able to land some counters in the third round.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Jack was able to fire off his punches first in the fourth round but took a good left uppercut from Stevenson with about thirty seconds left. Stevenson was the aggressor in the fifth and sixth rounds while Jack fought mainly out of a tight high guard. Jack was warned for a low blow at the end of the sixth round.
Jack started to come forward in the seventh round and hurt Stevenson with a short right hand followed up by combinations. Jack was snapping the head of Stevenson in the seventh with his uppercuts, but he was warned for a low blow again at the end of the round.
Jack opened up the eighth round with another low blow and Adonis Stevenson was given time to recover. Jack followed up with short right hooks and uppercuts and was able to bust open the nose of Badou jack.
Jack looked like the fresher fighter in the ninth round and had Stevenson stumbling at one point. Stevenson was able to come back and have a strong tenth round when he hurt Jack with a body shot and had Jack peddling backwards.
Stevenson pressed the pace early on in the eleventh round and had Jack in full retreat, but he tired in the middle of the round and Jack re-established dominance in the ring.
Both boxers were able to land some good shots in the final round, but Jack ended the fight strong with a hard combination as the final bell rang.
The judges scored the bout 114-114, 115-113 Jack, 114-114 for a majority draw.
Adonis Steven retains the title with a draw.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Stevenson vs. Jack, Russell vs. Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime network will broadcast two fights from two separate locations on a split site feature.
One fight will feature a WBC Light Heavyweight Title Fight between current champion Adonis Stevenson and the Swedish fighter Badou Jack. This bout will be taking place in Toronto, Canada at the Air Canada Centre. The other bout will be a WBC Featherweight Title between Gary Russell Jr. and Joseph Diaz Jr.
Photo Credit: Badou Jack Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both televised fights.
Adonis Stevenson (29-1) vs. Badou Jack (22-1-2); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
Adonis Stevenson has often been mentioned as one of the best light heavyweights in the world along with Sergei Kovalev and Andre Ward, but neither of those fights have ever come to fruition and he’s no forty years old and past his athletic prime.
Stevenson will face a very tough opponent in Badou Jack. Jack is six years younger than Stevenson, but has also been more active. He fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016, while Stevenson only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016.
Stevenson will also be giving up about two inches in height to Jack, but he will have a four inch reach advantage. Stevenson will be fighting in his home country which shouldn’t be a big surpise since he has only fought outside of Canada two times. This will be Jack’s first fight outside of the United States since 2010.
Both boxers had successful amateur careers. Stevenson was a Canadian National Champion and Jack was a Swedish National Champion and a competitor in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Andrzej Fonfara, Thomas Williams Jr., Tommy Karpency, Sakio Bika, Tony Bellew, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson, and Donovan George. His lone loss was the Darnell Boone, which he later avenged.
Jack also has a good professional resume, though his level of competition in recent fights surpasses that of Stevenson. His lone loss was a shocking TKO upset loss to Derek Edwards in 2014. He has two draws against James DeGale and Marco Antonio Periban. He has defeated the likes of Nathan Cleverly, Lucian Bute, George Groves, Anthony Dirrell, and Marco Antonio Periban.
If this fight happened five years ago Stevenson would have to be considered the favorite. But he’s now forty years old and has been fairly inactive recently while Jack has been steadily facing tougher and tougher competition.
If this fight goes to the Judges scorecards Stevenson may have a slight edge since the fight is happening in Canada, but the timing feels right for Jack to pull off a victory.
Gary Russell Jr. (28-1) vs. Joseph Diaz Jr. (26-0); WBC Featherweight Title
Golden Boy Promotions needs to be given credit for their willingness to throw their fighters in the ring with top fighters from other promotions. The Diaz-Russell fight is a good example of Golden Boy taking a risk by putting one of their top guys against an established champion.
Diaz is twenty five and will be four years younger than Russell. However, Joseph Diaz has been very active since 2016. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017 and four times in 2016. Russell only fought once in 2017, 2016, and in 2015.
Diaz will have about an inch and a half reach height advantage and both boxers have the same reach. They both represented the United States in the Summer Olympics, Russell in 2008 and Diaz in 2012.
Diaz is a southpaw, and the only boxer that Russell lost to, Vasyl Lomachenko, was a southpaw. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Russell has made since he last fought Lomachenko.
Russell represents the biggest test of Diaz’s young career. He has defeated the likes of Victor Terrazas, Rafael Rivera, Manuel Avila, Jayson Velez, and Ruben Tamayo.
Russell has been fairly inactive for a world champion, but has defeated some very good fighters. He has defeated the likes of Oscar Escandon, Patrick Hyland, Jhonny Gonzlaez, and Christopher Martin. His lone loss was the Vasyl Lomachenko, who has since jumped up two weight classes to dethrone Jorge Linares as the Lightweight Champion.
Russell’s inactivity should be of concern to his camp, especially since he’s facing a young, undefeated, challenger who has a strong amateur pedigree.
This fight will be close, but age and activity has this writer giving Diaz a slight edge on Saturday night.
Jeff Horn Defends WBO Welterweight Title by Stopping Gary Corcoran
By: Ken Hissner
WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, of Brisbane, Australia made his first title defense at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Brisbane, Australiaagainst No. 10 contender the British and WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran,of London, UK.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “Hornet” Horn, 18-0-1 (12), of Brisbane, Australia, stopped British & WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran, 17-2 (7), of London, UK, in a blood filled battle on both sides at 1:35 of the eleventh round.
In the first round Horn used the jab from the start. It took close to half a minute for Corcoran to throw a punch. Horn lands the first combination to the head of Corcoran. A Horn jab knocked Corcoran off balance. In the second round a Horn right to the chin of Corcoran stunned Corcoran. Horn did it again seconds later. Corcoran landed his best punch so far a short right to the chin of Horn. Corcoran warned by referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. as Horn got spun around Corcoran hit him from behind. In the third round Horn landed a 3-punch combination on Corcoran. Corcoran spun Horn around landing a left hook to the head. Horn landed a good right to the head of Corcoran who countered with a left hook to the chin. Both fighters warned for dirty tactics by referee Esteves, Jr.
In the fourth round Corcoran landed a good lead right to the head of Horn. Inside Horn landed a left hook to the head of Corcoran as the fight started to heat up. Corcoran back Horn up with separate left then a right to the head. Horn landed a good right to the head of Corcoran within ten seconds of the end of the round with Corcoran getting the final punch in a left hook to the head of Horn. In the fifth round Corcoran landed lead rights to the head of Horn. Horn landed a pair of uppercuts to the chin of Corcoran. A Corcoran left hook to the right ear of Horn got his attention. Horn warned for holding. Corcoran landed a hard overhand right to the head of Horn. In the sixth round Corcoran landed a solid left hook to the head of Horn after some thirty seconds of action. Corcoran cut on the outside of his left eye. It seemed to urge Corcoran to throw more punches as the blood flowed down the side of his face. Horn was cut by the left eye.
In the seventh round with the fight looking even at the halfway point with Horn taking the first three and Corcoran the last three rounds. Horn landed a good combination to the head of Corcoran. Horn landed a lead right knocking the head of Corcoran back. A Corcoran right to the head of Horn knocked him off balance. Corcoran warned for landing a right to the head of Horn after the bell. In the eighth round Horn was cut on the right eye but he came back with a solid combination. Corcoran warned for holding and then Horn for the same. In the ninth round Corcoran backed up Horn with a 3-punch combination. Blood coming down the eyes of both fighters as it gets rough inside. Horn landed a good right uppercut to the chin of Corcoran.
In the tenth round Horn almost put Corcoran through the ropes with a flurry of punches. Corcoran came back with a combination and showing a smile. Corcoran’s left eye bleeding from Horn’s left hooks. Between rounds the ring physician checked the left eye of Corcoran. In the eleventh round a Horn combination knocked Corcoran off balance. Horn in control of the fight as referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. who did a good job throughout had seen enough of the badly cut left eye of Corcoran stopping the fight to in favor of Horn to the disgust of Corcoran for the fight to be stopped by the urging of his corner.
After Horn took the first three and Corcoran the next three Horn took over taking the last four going into the eleventh round. The talk in the ring after the fight was Horn meeting four division super lightweight champion Terence Crawford moving up to welterweight. It would be a giant of a mountain for Horn winning that one. It also leaves former champion Manny Pacquiao out of the picture hoping for a deserving rematch with Horn.
Super middleweight Rohan Murdock, 21-1 (15), Queensland, Australia, defeated Apti “Tiger” Ustarkhanov, 15-3-3 (5), of Kurchaloi, Russia, for the vacant WBO Oriental title.
IBF Pan Pacific Featherweight Champion Nathaniel “Cheeky” May 19-1 (10), Bunbury, Australia, defeated Aelio “Biro” Mesquita, 16-1 (14), San Paulo, Brazil, for the Asia Pacific Title.
Super featherweight southpaw Paul “Showtime” Fleming, 25-0 (16), of Sydney, Australia, defeated Vergil “Strong Man” Putton, 17-9 (8), of Manila, Philippines.
Jeff Horn to Defend WBO Welterweight Title Against Gary Corcoran in Australia
By: Ken Hissner
The new WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, 17-0-1 (11), makes his first title defense Wednesday at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Brisbane, Australia. He will feel at home living in Brisbane as he defends his title against his No. 10 contender the British and WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran, 17-1 (7), of London, UK.
Horn won the title in his last fight in July over former WBC World Flyweight, IBF Super bantamweight, IBF World Featherweight, WBC Super Featherweight, WBC World Lightweight and WBO World Welterweight Champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 59-6-2, by scores of 117-111, 115-113 twice, at the Suncorp Stadium, in Bribane in July of 2017. The fight was close enough that Pacquiao has demanded a rematch in April in the Philippines when as a Senator of that country he is on break. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one!
The 29 year-old Horn has a win over former IBF World Welterweight Champion Randall “Knock Out-King” Bailey, 46-9 and the WBO African Champion Ali Funeka, 39-6-3. Corcoran’s trainer Frank Greaves has complained that Horn has a reputation for coming forward and using a head butt. The allegation is strongly refuted by the Horn camp.
The 27 year-old Corcoran has defeated other unbeaten boxers such as Rick Skelton, 13-0, Rick Goddine, 21-0-1, Liam Williams, 14-0-1, and in July in his last fight over Larry Ekundayo, 12-0.
The Horn camp may be looking past Corcoran having their eyes on Terence Crawford who holds all the four super lightweight title and recently announced he is moving up to welterweight. He is also targeting IBF Champion Errol Spence and WBA & WBC Champion Keith Thurman according to trainer Glenn Rushton. “Jeff has trained for a 12 round bout but I want him to score the knockout. I want this to be a big statement to the rest of the welterweight division,” said Rushton. Horn’s only non-win was against Rivan Cesaire in 2013 but stopped Cesaire in 2014. Horn has never fought out of Australia.
It’s already been announced that American Benjy Esteves, Jr., will be the referee. This writer considers him one of the world’s best having seen him on numerous occasions.
The championship fight will be broadcasted over ESPN 6:30AM EST.
Maliek & Mikhail Montgomery Interview
By: Benny Henderson
The Montgomery brothers were raised on boxing, all three, Maliek, Mikhail and Michael were decorated amateurs. With a combined record of 419-44, and countless awards and trophies, all three have decided to take the plunge as a professional in the bang for your buck sport. Both, Maliek, a super featherweight, and Michael, a welterweight, are 1-0 (1 KO) as a professional, as Mikhail awaits to step in the pro ranks, but should see action shortly as a pro. All three were recently signed by Witness Sports Management, and are excited to see what the future holds.
Sports Management has some major credibility behind the newly formed company, it is ran by boxing veterans, Greg Hannely, founder of the Prince Ranch Boxing facility, who also helped guide the careers of former world champions, Clarence Adams and Steven Luevano. And Jared Shaw, the son of famed boxing promoter, Gary Shaw.
The future looks bright for the Montgomery brother’s, who may be young in age, but have been battle tested in the ring. With youth, talent, the willingness to learn, hunger for success, their father/trainer Michael Montgomery Sr. and Sports Management by their side, it is going to be a thrill to see what is in store for the Montgomery brothers.
In this exclusive interview, Maliek and Mikhail speak out on various topic concerning their boxing career, they both talk about their styles, each other’s greatest accolades, what separates them from other young prospects, and more.
An Interview with Jared Shaw – Mayweather vs McGregor, Golovkin vs Alvarez
By: Eric Lunger
Jared Shaw, son of Gary Shaw, long time boxing promoter and former NJ commissioner, has been around boxing and boxers since he was a kid. As an adult, Jared worked for his father, Main Events, Roc nation, Al Haymon, and others. He has extensive experience in MMA as well, having been vice president of EliteXC and the promoter of internet sensation Kimbo Slice.
Most recently, Jared founded Witness Sports Management (WSM) along with Greg Hannely, founder of the Prince Ranch boxing facility in Las Vegas. WSM has just signed three exciting prospects from Georgia who happen to be brothers: Mikhail, Maliek, and Michael Montgomery. Brought along by their father, Michael, Sr., the three brothers have extensive amateur experience, but are now looking to make their marks in the pro game under WSM guidance. “If you like pressure fighters with knockout power, then you will love the Montgomery brothers,” Jared said.
Boxinginsider.com caught up with Jared this week, and he shared his insights on the up-coming mega fights Mayweather vs. McGregor and Canelo vs. Golovkin.
Boxinginsider.com: Jared, thanks for talking with me. You have a ton of experience in both the boxing and the MMA world, let’s get right to it. Does Conor McGregor have a chance against Floyd Mayweather, one of the all-time greats?
Jared Shaw: Everyone who gets in a ring or a cage has a chance, just as much as they have a risk. But you want to break it down to “styles make fights,” which is essentially what they do in boxing, and Conor McGregor has zero chance. The reason I put him at absolute nothing is because, in MMA – and there is no doubt that Conor McGregor is outrageously entertaining, an offensive fighter, he has great hands for MMA – the reason it doesn’t translate is the same reason a boxer does not translate to Mixed Martial Arts.
MMA is meant to be this hybrid between all fighting styles, but you notice how boxing is not really in there. In order to be a good mixed martial artist, you have to be able to defend the take-down, work out of submissions, and counter not only a punch, but a leg check, a take-down. So that already changes the way you stand, whereas a boxer is already way more “angled up.” So, a boxer is able to put that much more mustard into his punches.
Some people are going to say, why doesn’t Conor McGregor have a chance, you know, a puncher’s chance. But it actually works the opposite way. Just because he gets angled up and it looks like there is power, it depends who is on the other side. In this case, he is fighting maybe the best boxer who ever lived, maybe not the greatest fighter, but boxer? One hundred percent! Boxing is a dance, it’s “hit or be hit.” And Floyd is going to show movements to McGregor that he not only has never seen, but that McGregor is not even going to realize that Mayweather is tiring him out, exhausting him.
The way I see the fight is McGregor coming in – and Floyd invites everyone in – but then he is going to crowd his punches so he can feel it. People say, “Well, what if he lands a punch?” Well, that’s the thing! No one has ever landed a punch on Floyd.
BI: Even Canelo Alvarez couldn’t touch Floyd.
JS: Right. I don’t care if you want to talk about Zab Judah, or Jose Luis Castillo – nobody finished Mayweather. If they could not finish him, then I don’t think Conor McGregor is going to finish him. And let’s go back to the third round of the Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor fight, to me McGregor was punched out, he was exhausted. Nate almost had him out in the third, but Conor came back to win. But for me, there were these small things [in that fight] that Mayweather doesn’t do. Taking it to boxing, now, where they are wearing 8 or 10 ounces gloves. Was that decided?
BI: I know they made some noise about going to 8 ounces, but the Nevada Commission is going to vote on the matter on August 16.
JS: Now [assuming they stay at 10 ounces] you have a guy wearing five ounces more in each hand. That is an enormous difference. Add to that the ring generalship of Floyd, leaning on you, making you work. You are going to be gassed out, my guess is, by the fourth round. If you are a bettor, you are going with Floyd Mayweather by stoppage.
BI: Is there a worry in the Mayweather camp that, if there is a quick knock out, the PPV audience is going to feel cheated? Does that go into their calculus at all, or do they just game plan to win?
JS: Look, that is more of a business question. In this situation, no. First of all, Floyd lives to be the greatest. The only thing he knows is how to box, he had a tough childhood, and so, wining is what fills him. I happen to like Floyd, and he is a marketing genius. They both are. But in this case, he wants to embarrass MMA. He does not want any challenge to his throne, you know what I mean? The other reason is this: if he finishes him quickly and there is a backlash, like the Pacquiao fight, does he really care anymore? Who is left for him?
BI: Taking a step back for a second, the old cliché that there is no such thing as bad publicity: is this fight good for boxing?
JS: Truthfully? I think it is great for boxing. Boxing has had a hard path since the late 1990s and the era of the great heavyweights. We have been clamoring for stars. But boxing is having a great year, some really good fighters and some really good fights. There happens to be a lot boxing on television, but it still doesn’t feel like it did in the nineties and late eighties. I think for our community, we are pretty happy. But for the mainstream audience, boxing is not making its mark. But this fight does make a mark. It puts the eyeballs back on boxing, period. It puts eyeballs on Canelo vs Golovkin, and so on. It remains to be seen, of course, but how can this not be good for the sport with all the publicity and circus sideshow?
BI: Switching gears, can you comment on the Canelo vs. Golovkin bout? Do you think Golovkin was exposed in some way against Jacobs? Danny Jacobs is a great fighter, a great middle weight. Did he expose GGG or was it just a tough, close fight?
JS: An interesting question. I like to think about how a fight will play out, and Canelo vs Golovkin is one I just go back and forth on. At first, I favored Canelo a bit, because I thought they hurt him business-wise fighting Mayweather so early, but they didn’t really hurt his career. He has done a very good job of disposing of every fighter that has come his way. The difference is, I have shaken Golovkin’s hand, and we are pretty much the same size, but his hands are enormous. Like Kovalev, like Duran even, these guys have heavy hands that are game changers. The question becomes: can Canelo handle that power? This is not 154 pound power.
BI: That’s the criticism against Canelo, isn’t it? That he is a catchweight fighter and not a true middleweight?
JS: Right, and my point is that Golovkin is hitting harder even than a 160 pounder. But let’s go back to what you asked about Danny Jacobs. I think Jacobs is underrated, because when you go back to his whole body of work, he is tremendous. He was impressive as an amateur, and when he beat cancer, that was a whole other level of victory. Peter Quinlin is no joke, and he demolished Peter Quinlin. When he fought Golovkin, that was a very hard fight. Not only is Danny Jacobs a very good boxer, but he is an underrated puncher. I give Golovkin a lot of credit because I think Jacobs can stop most guys.
BI: But don’t you think that Canelo re-hydrates well? He is big when he comes back into the ring.
JS: He does, but what Canelo has not been prepared for is someone who can sit in the pocket with him and make it a Mexican brawl. He hasn’t been given that treatment, hasn’t felt that pressure. I have more questions in that fight for Canelo than I do for Golovkin.
BI: I was really fascinated with GGG’s performance against David Lemieux, where he clearly changed his style and fought behind the jab for a long time. Do you see him doing that against Canelo?
JS: I do. That’s exactly what I see him doing. Look, we are all expecting Canelo to out-box him, but I think that is [Golovkin’s] game plan. They are going to take the boxing to Canelo. I would say, for three to four rounds, Golovkin is behind that jab until a fight breaks out. It’s an interesting fight, it’s a great fight for the sport.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Guerrero, McGregor, Smith, Shields, Montgomery Brothers, and more
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 11th to July 18th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Mario Serrano
Robert Guerrero Announces Retirement
After giving fans some of the most thrilling fights in boxing, which spanned over sixteen hard fought years, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero is announcing his retirement.
“First, I want to thank God for allowing me to have a wonderful career. I’m a kid from a small town in Gilroy, California, who made it to the mountain top of the boxing world. When I was a young kid growing up, I always believed in myself, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a small-town kid like myself, would be fighting in front of millions of fans.”
“I was blessed to win multiple world titles in four-divisions. A boxer’s career is a long and tough road. Many tears were shed, lots of blood, and tons of sweat. Many miles were traveled, thousands of rounds sparred, none were easy and nothing was ever given to me. I earned everything I got the old fashion way. I never ducked anyone and fought the best fighters in the world. I fought my way through every obstacle to make sure my fans enjoyed every second, of every round, of my fights.”
“I competed at super-bantamweight (122 lbs.) and won world titles across multiple weight classes, closing my career at welterweight (147 lbs.), fighting the big guys 25 pounds heavier. A good friend always told me I was God’s warrior, born to fight. I enjoyed every minute of every war. I represented my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the bible verse Acts 2:38 on my trunks. If I reached one person and brought that person closer to Christ, then it was all worth it.”
“I want to thank some very important people in my career starting with the most important person, my wife Casey, who has been with me every step of the way, my soul mate, my sweetheart, the one and only love of my life. My father/trainer Ruben Guerrero Sr. He’s the one who started it all and made me the man I am today, and the champion I was in the ring. He’s one of the best trainers in the world and I hope to be working side by side with him in the future. My mother Marcy Guerrero for being a great mother and supporter. My co-manager Bob Santos for all the sacrifices he made to get me to the top…I will always remember the early days when we made the most with very liitle. He always had my back and looked out for me like I was his brother. His wife Diane Santos who did a lot of secretarial work for me during my whole career. Both my grandparents on Martinez and Guerrero sides for believing in me. My brother’s Sammy, Ruben Jr., Victor, Randy and especially Eric, who has been with me my whole career, my shadow every step of the way, my right-hand man. My mother and father in-law, Shelly and Cary O’neal.
My cutman Ruben Gomez. My good friends, Pastor Mark Wilson, Dave Castro, Pastor Chris Avila, John Mersho, and Albert Guarado. My uncle Russel Sr., Russel Jr., Uncle Ricky, Hector Catano and Greg Amundson. I want to thank my co-manager Luis Decubas Jr. for taking my career to the next level. Santos and Decubas Jr. are more than managers, they are family to me. My publicist Mario Serrano, who has also been with me the whole ride, he is also family to me. All the fans and the community who stuck by my side when my wife was battling cancer…I will never forget the love you showed. There are so many people who have helped me, if I leave anyone off, thank you for everything.”
“In closing, I want to thank the most special man I’ve ever met in my boxing career, and possibly lifetime, a man who always does what’s best for the fighter, a man who has changed the sport of boxing, a man who has helped bless me and my family with a great life, and that person is my advisor Al Haymon. Not only is Al Haymon a spectacular advisor, he is a wonderful human being as well, a great man, and someone who cares. In a sport where most managers, promoters, and trainers turn their back on a fighter, when they no longer can perform, or are no longer beneficial to their interest, Haymon stands tall. Love and loyalty is tough to find in the boxing game, but for any boxer looking for it, you don’t have to look far, reach out to Al Haymon. I want to thank everyone, the fans included. I hope you guys appreciated the guts and glory I left in the ring. God bless you all.” ~ Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero
Claressa Shields Named 2017 ‘Biggest Powerhouse’ in Sports by Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Sports Awards
Budding women’s boxing superstar, community activist, role model and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields has been bestowed with another honor, as she has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award for “Biggest Powerhouse.”
In winning the prestigious award, which honors the heaviest hitters, strongest sluggers and unstoppable players in sports each year, Shields beat out a field of such well-known stars as Demarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans), Von Miller (Denver Broncos), David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) and Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels).
“It is a tremendous honor and great thrill to win the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award because it comes from the kids,” said Claressa Shields. “I work hard every day to show all children that nothing in life is impossible if you believe in yourself. If this kid from Flint can win Olympic gold medals, boxing world championships, and succeed in life, then you can do it too!”
Shields’ promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says she deserves all the incredible accolades and honors she’s received.
“Claressa is a true champion of the people with her incredible story of overcoming adversity through her own self-belief and determination. Her accomplishments, inside and outside the ring, make Claressa a real-life American hero and an inspiration to every young person.”
22-year-old Shields (3-0, 1 KO), from Flint, Michigan, is currently in training for her first world-title shot on August 4 against German star and WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler (16-0, 9 KOs). The 10-round super-middleweight match-up, will be televised live on ShoBox: The New Generation (10 pm ET/PT), and held at MGM Grand Detroit.
The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards are the only kid-oriented award show focusing on the world’s best athletes and each year’s greatest sports moments. Held at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, this year’s broadcast was once again hosted by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
The winners were chosen predominantly by children’s online voting.
Witness Sports Management Signs Montgomery Brothers
Boxing veterans, Greg Hannely, founder of the Prince Ranch Boxing facility, and Jared Shaw have joined forces, as they are happy to announce the birth of Witness Sports Management (WSM), a boxing management company that will guide the careers of some of the best young fighters in the sport.
The Montgomery Brothers, Maliek, Mikhail, and Michael Jr., out of Macon, Georgia, are WSM’s first signees. The highly touted trio, who were all decorated amateur standouts, are trained by their dad, Michael Montgomery Sr.
“I want to make sure it’s known how excited we are to be signing with Jared and Greg,” said Michael Montgomery Sr. “I’m happy that my boys are going to be represented by some folks that have been involved in boxing for many years. Greg and Jared have been wonderful to work with. My boys and I are very grateful and we are ready to take the boxing world by storm.”
Greg Hannely, is a well-known figure in the sport as he guided the careers of former world champions, Clarence “Bones” Adams and Steven Luevano, back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. His passion for boxing has brought him back to the sport he loves, and he wants nothing more than to build a stable of world champions.
“I’m very thrilled to be back in boxing, especially after signing the Montgomery Brothers.” Greg Hannely said, “Their father, Michael Sr., has been grooming all three boys to fight like professionals. They all have very exciting styles and I believe they will be well received to everyone who witnesses them fight. The Prince Ranch Boxing gym in Las Vegas will be available for the entire Montgomery family. These are good kids with strong family values. Their future is bright.”
Jared Shaw, son of world renowned boxing promoter Gary Shaw, has been around the sport since he was a young child. After spending many years learning from his father, Jared, developed a knack for spotting talent.
“If you like pressure fighters with knockout power, then you’ll love the Montgomery Brothers.” stated Jared Shaw. “Maliek, Mikhail, and Michael Jr., were all great amateurs with over 400 fights combined, but their styles are suited for the pros. All three of them have heavy hands and the ring intelligence to make adjustments on the fly. Greg and I are ecstatic to be working with the entire Montgomery family. This is a fantastic start to our new management company.”
“As co-managers, Greg and I started WSM with the idea of cultivating our fighters,” Shaw continued. “We want to be looked at as more than just a financial asset. We will provide are stable with the needed resources that will help them become better fighters. We will house are guys at “The Prince Ranch” in Las Vegas, getting them the best sparring in boxing. Our goal is to make sure they have no distractions that will hinder their development.”
About Mikhail Montgomery
Nickname – 50Khail
Height – 5’7
Weight – 122 (Super-Bantamweight)
DOB: – December 24, 1996 (Age 20)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (120-12)
Pro Record – TBA
“Jared came to us a few years back and told us he was interested in signing us. The bond started back then and now that we are older, it’s good to look back and see that he’s still with us. He’s a man of his word and kept his promise. I’m excited that WSM is going to take me and my brothers under their wing.”
About Maliek Montgomery
Nickname – Mayhem
Height – 5’8
Weight – 130 (Super-Featherweight)
DOB: – September 17, 1995 (Age 22)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (149-12)
Pro Record – (1-0, 1 KO)
“Signing with WSM has been a blessing to me and my family. Jared has been around for a few years now and we trust that he and Greg will take us to the top. My dad talked about this day for many years, signing with a good management team. Now that it’s here, I’m ready to start knocking out folks.”
About Michael Jr. Montgomery
Nickname – NA
Height – 5’11
Weight – 147 (Welterweight)
DOB: – March 11, 1994 (Age 23)
Hometown – Macon, Georgia
Amateur Record – (150-20)
Pro Record – (1-0, 1 KO)
“I believe everything is going to work out great with Jared and Greg. Fighting in the pros is new to me but I think I’m going to make an immediate impact. I got my first knockout in my pro debut earlier this year and I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
Petition Demands Budweiser Drop Conor McGregor Over Bigoted Remarks
A Care2 petition is asking Budweiser to drop professional mixed martial artist and boxer Conor McGregor over his history of bigoted comments ahead of his August match against Floyd Mayweather. The petition has gathered over 6,700 signatures.
VIEW THE CARE2 PETITION HERE: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/391/537/851/
McGregor is projected to make $100 million in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August, in what could be the most viewed, highest grossing pay-per-view fight of all time.
But Care2 members are calling him out for his bigoted comments.
Leading up to his 2015 match against Brazilian fighter Jose Aldo, McGregor said:
“If this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback and kill anyone that was not fit to work.”
“What I really want to do is turn his favela into a Reebok sweatshop.”
“I think I’m going to have him come and clean up my airplane.”
“These remarks should have caused major brands to drop any association with McGregor long ago. Now that he’s gearing up to cash in on his history of bigoted comments, the time has come,” the Care2 petition reads. “Please sign this petition to ask Budweiser to drop Conor McGregor over his history of bigoted remarks!”
Last week, during a four-day promotional tour for the Mayweather-McGregor match, which takes place in Las Vegas on August 26, Mayweather made a quip using stereotypes about Black men: “A lot of media are saying I’m racist against black people. That’s absolutely f****** ridiculous. Do they not know I’m half-black? Yeeeeeah. I’m half-black from the belly button down.”
McGregor is reportedly worth $35 million.
Joe Smith Jr. Fights Nine Rounds with a Broken Jaw
Popular Long Island light heavyweight contender JOE SMITH JR. (23-2-0, 19 KO’S), gritted his way through Saturday’s ten round battle with SULLIVAN BARRERA (20-1-0, 14 KO’s), after suffering a broken jaw early in the 2nd round. Even with a broken jaw, Smith Jr. dug deep to fire away at the skilled Barrera until the final bell, in which he ultimately fell short by scores of 96-93 and 97-92 twice.
In a fight that had the cheering crowd on their feet throughout, Smith and Barrera went to war from the opening bell. Prior to breaking his jaw, Smith wasted no time showing his sheer power as he drilled Barrera with a hard left hook to the forehead in the opening round sending Barrera sprawling to the canvas. Barrera, hurt from the knockdown, showed his proven grit and determination by rising and finishing the round.
Although having his jaw broken in the second round, Smith continued to fight hard throughout the fight which featured excellent two-way action. Smith showed a great chin and tons of heart as he tried his best to fight through a debilitating injury. Smith landed some heavy blows stunning Barrera on occasion but Sullivan outworked him to grab the decision on the judges scorecards.
“Joe knocked down Barrera hard in the first round but in the second round he sustained a broken jaw,” said JOE DEGUARDIA, CEO and President of STAR BOXING. “It’s a similar injury to the one he suffered five years ago and frankly it’s amazing that he continued to valiantly fight over the next eight rounds and finish the fight.”
In his only other previous loss, Smith also suffered a broken jaw against Eddie Caminero five years ago.
Continued DeGuardia, “After spending part of Saturday night at the UCLA Medical Center, Joe will have surgery later this week in New York and we’ll know more then about a time frame for his full recovery. We congratulate Sullivan Barrera on his victory.”
We at Star Boxing are extremely proud of Joe for fighting this fight under such extreme conditions as are all his fans who came to the fight last night from Long Island and those who watched on HBO. Joe Smith is a true warrior and epitomizes what a real fighter is supposed to be.
Showtime’s Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious
Showtimes’ Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious
By: Sean Crose
Liam Walsh, 21-0, took a crack at the IBF junior lightweight title when he took on American champ Gervanta Davis, 17-0, in a sold out Copper Box arena in London.
Smith showed some nice range in the first, then refused to sit down in his corner. Davis, however, remained patient throughout the second, exuding terrific confidence in the process. It may have been a somewhat even round in the eyes of viewers and judges, but Davis acted as if he was completely in control. Perhaps he knew what would happen, for in the third he put his man down after several seconds of firing heavy shots. The Englishman got up, but that was polished off a few sharp punches later, when referee Michael Alexander wisely stopped the bout.
Showtime, which broadcast the bout, then went across the Atlantic to showcase a card live from the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. First up was Rances Barthelemy, the 25-0 junior welterweight from Vegas by way of Cuba. Barthelemy’s opponent was 21-1 Belarus native Kiryl Relikh. Barthelemy was well regarded walking into the fight, but Relikh had his man in trouble after dropping Barthelemy in round five. To add to the suspense, Barthelemy dropped Relikh three rounds later. It was an interesting, competitive bout and there was much unhappiness when Barthlemy ended up winning by UD via some very wide scores.
The controversy was followed up by super middleweight Andre Dirrell, 25-2 facing Jose Uzcategui, 26-1, for the chance to face multi-titlist James DeGale (for Dirrell, that fight would be a rematch). The first round wasn’t overly eventful, but Dirrell was jostled by Uzcategui in the second. Indeed, it looked like the man might go down. Dirrell, however, was able to survive the round. What’s more, he was able to work effectively at points, but Uzcategui remained aggressive.
Dirrell came back in the third by employing a very impressive jab and slick defense. By the fourth, Dirrell was in fine form, jabbing and keeping away from his foe proficiently. And Dirrell continued to keep Uzcategui from taking complete control throughout the middle of the fight. Then, at the end of the 8th, Dirrell was hammered after the bell. Referee Bill Clancy subsequently disqualified Uzcategui. Afterward, a rumble erupted and at least one member of Dirrell’s team took shots at Uzcategui.
Word came out that Maryland police were looking for Dirrell’s uncle while essentially keeping Uzcategui in protective custody. It was also reported that Dirrell’s brother may have become violent with a commission member. An ugly scene all around.
It was time for the main event. Featherweight Gary Russell, 27-1, looked to hop back into the public consciousness by looking impressive against 25-2 Oscar Escandon. It was Russell’s second defense of his WBC world title and he had the comfort of fighting within his home state of Maryland. Columbia’s Escandon, however, was planning to make the most of this opportunity. Russell, one of the sports’ more impressive slicksters, may have told the tale in the first round, but Escandon was able to get in his shots.
Both men traded shots effectively in the second, making it a fast paced, close quarters round. Russell, however, was able to drop his man in the third. Escandon got to his feet, but Russell was finding his mark and landing with noticeable power. By the end of the round, Russell was landing hard and often enough to make one wonder if the man would run out of gas should Escandon refuse to be stopped. Russell never had to worry about it. For he stopped Escandon in round seven after what was an exciting, high octane bout. Escandon was a true warrior, but referee Harvey Dock had seen enough of Russell’s power shots landing clean.
To his credit, Russell apologized for the wild antics of the evening – even though they had nothing to him. Boxing could use more of that kind of class.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon
By: Seamus McNally
On Saturday night, WBC featherweight champion “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr. (27–1, 16 KOs) of Capitol Heights, Md. makes his long-awaited home debut when he takes Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (25–2, 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.
Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
The bout caps the night of a split-site four fight broadcast on Showtime Championship Boxing. First up, IBF junior lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis (17–0, 16 KOs) of Baltimore, Md. travels across the pond into hostile territory to risk his undefeated record against fellow unbeaten Liam Walsh (21–0, 14 KOs) at the Copper Box Arena in London. Once that bout is complete, the televised bouts from the MGM National Harbor will commence.
The first televised fight in Maryland will be a 12-round junior welterweight title eliminator between Cuba’s Rances Barthelemy (25–0, 13 KOs), who will be moving up from lightweight, and Kiryl Relikh (21–1, 19 KOs) of Belarus. The co-feature bout is a 12-rounder for the interim IBF super middleweight title between Andre Dirrell (25–2, 16 KOs) of Flint, Mich. and Venezuelan Jose Uzcategui (26–1, 22 KOs).
Russell, 28, entered the professional ranks in 2009 with high expectations, having won numerous amateur national titles, earning a bronze medal in the 2007 world amateur championships, and making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.
Russell was a very active fighter early in his career, and by the end of his third year as a professional, he had accumulated a record of 19–0, 11 KOs and was named 2011 Prospect of the Year by the likes of ESPN, Ring Magazine, and Sports Illustrated.
After padding his record for a few more years against modest opposition, Russell got his first crack at a world title in June 2014 against two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell was outclassed and lost a 12-round decision.
Russell won a shutout decision against Christopher Martin that December and then got his second chance at a world title in March 2015. The outcome was different this time as Russell blitz WBC champion Jhonny Gonzalez en route to a fourth-round knockout win.
In his most recent fight, Russell obliterated the overmatched Patrick Hyland in the second round of their fight, which took place 13 months ago in April 2016.
Escandon, 32, was an Olympian himself, representing Colombia in the 2004 Athens Games. Unlike Russell, Escandon entered the paid ranks inconspicuously, building his record in his homeland save for two fights in Argentina and two in Panama before making his U.S. debut in 2014.
By the time Escandon reached U.S. soil, he sported a record of 23–1, 16 KOs. In his U.S. debut in December 2014 on ESPN Friday Night Fights, Escandon was awarded a very controversial decision over Canadian Tyson Cave that elicited an epic rant from color commentator Teddy Atlas once the decision was rendered.
Like Russell, Escandon fought only once in each of the last two years. In April 2015, Escandon lost a close split decision to the undefeated Moises Flores. In his most recent fight, which took place in March 2016 at the D.C. Armory, Escandon scored a seventh-round knockout of Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos.
For the first time in a long while, Russell will enjoy a height advantage in the fight. Escandon is one of the shortest fighters in all of boxing, standing at just 5’1″. Because of his short stature, Escandon tends to throw looping shots to try and reach his opponents’ heads. He puts constant pressure on his opponents, always moving forward. Escandon does not move his head much, as he usually just holds his gloves up, blocking and eating punches as he tries to walk his opponents down to get in punching range.
Russell has arguably the fastest hands in all of boxing, and knows how to use it. Some fighters rely too much on their speed and are not technically sound and get caught (Amir Khan), whereas Russell patiently sets up his shots, and is almost never out of position.
Escandon has one chance to win this fight. The only knock on Russell is that he always throws his punches at the same speed, never varies them up. The saying is timing beats speed, so Escandon may be able to time one of Russell’s punches and connect flush with a looping shot over the top and hurt Russell.
I look for Russell to establish his sharp jab early, and use good lateral movement to keep the charging Escandon at bay. Russell will take out Escandon in the middle rounds, as the blazing combinations will be too much for Escandon to withstand.