Leo Santa Cruz Eyeing Unification Showdown Against Mark Magsayo
By: Hans Themistode
The confidence of Leo Santa Cruz was visibly fractured following his sixth-round stoppage defeat at the hands of Gervonta Davis. Although Cruz knew good and well that he was facing a much bigger and stronger opponent on October 31st, 2020, the Mexican star wanted to prove that he could hang with anyone in or around his weight division.
Through five extremely competitive rounds against Davis, Cruz began opening up in the sixth. With everything going exactly the way he envisioned it, Cruz tagged his man repeatedly. But, in the blink of an eye, Cruz found himself unconscious and unaware of what took place, thanks to a perfectly timed left uppercut from Davis.
The 33-year-old former multiple division titlist openly admitted that his self-belief cratered shortly after. While it may have taken Cruz a considerable amount of time to regain his confidence, he eventually dusted himself off and got back to his winning ways.
Serving as the co-main event at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, last night, Cruz took on fringe contender Keenan Carbajal. Though he was game throughout, Carbajal was outclassed, losing every round on all three judges’ scorecards.
While their contest may have taken place in the super featherweight division, Cruz intends on dropping down to a much more comfortable weight class of 126 pounds. Despite not fighting as a featherweight since 2019, Cruz still holds the WBA title. With his intentions seemingly set on returning to his old stomping grounds, Cruz is eyeing the opportunity to strap even more gold around his waist.
Most recently, Filipino native Mark Magsayo ended the long reign of former WBC titlist, Gary Russell Jr. His championship glory, however, is one that Cruz is interested in truncating later on in the year. Having watched the hard-hitting newly crowned champion for several years now, Cruz is fully convinced that a showdown between them would be a thing of violent beauty.
“I think Magsayo is a great fighter,” said Cruz to a group of reporters recently. “He comes forward, he throws a lot of punches, he doesn’t run, he comes to fight. Mexico and Philippines are always a great fight, just like Pacquiao and Marquez. I think it’s going to be that type of fight with Magsayo.”
Gary Russell Jr.: “Politics Is A Bad Mother F*cker”
By: Hans Themistode
Gary Russell Jr. confidently rose both of his arms in the air following the conclusion of his bout against mandatory title challenger Mark Magsayo. However, while Russell Jr. believed that he was on the verge of hearing his name called as the victor, he was incredulous when the final outcome was read-out-loud.
According to judge Lynne Carter, both Russell Jr. and Magsayo fought to a draw during their Showtime main event at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Nonetheless, she was ultimately overruled by fellow judges Mark Consentino and Henry Eugene Grant, each scored the bout identically in favor of Magsayo, 115-113.
Once it was revealed that Russell Jr.’s title reign came to an unexpected end, the Maryland resident began chuckling. In what Russell Jr. believes was a completely one-sided fight, he could only come to one conclusion as to why he was given a raw deal.
“Politics is a bad mother f*cker,” said Russell Jr. during a self-recorded video following his defeat. “I beat that boy at least ten rounds to two, 9-3. I took ole boy to school.”
As Russell Jr. headed into the sixth defense of his WBC featherweight title, the speedy former champion revealed that he was not going to be at his physical best. While he refused to divulge what exactly was bothering him, Russell Jr. promised to publicize his bodily injury following the conclusion of the bout.
Nevertheless, while Russell Jr. was mums the word, he inadvertently revealed his physical issue in the fourth round. During the period, Russell Jr. winced in pain and grabbed his right arm. From there, he fought the duration of their contest with only his left hand.
Although the former champion indicated that he suffered a torn tendon in his shoulder two weeks ago, he maintains that even with one hand, he completely dominated Magsayo.
“I’m a true dog at the end of the day. I been f*cked my arm up like two weeks before the camp. Still fought and to be honest, I outclassed him, out schooled him, outboxed him with one mother f*cking arm. It is what it is.”
Mark Magsayo Anxious To Prove He’s The Best Featherweight In The World
By: Hans Themistode
Gary Russell Jr. continues to show his frustration for his inability to land a marquee fight. The WBC featherweight belt holder is by far the longest-reigning champion in his division. But, despite his elongated title run, the 33-year-old has stepped foot inside the ring just once annually from 2015-2020. In 2021, he failed to compete at all.
While no one in, or around his respective weight class appears to be in a hurry to take him on, Mark Magsayo has confidently walked to the front of the class. With an unblemished record through 23 professional fights, including back-to-back stoppage victories over Pablo Cruz and Julio Ceja, Magsayo has now found himself as Russell Jr.’s mandatory. And, by all accounts, Magsayo couldn’t be happier to be in his current position.
“This is the fight that I’ve wanted for a long time,” said Magsayo during a recent virtual press conference.
Presently, Russell Jr. finds himself near the top of the featherweight division landscape. Though the Washington D.C. native continues to be incredibly inactive, whenever he does enter the ring, his incredibly sublime skillset appears to be intact.
In Russell Jr.’s most recent trip to the ring, which took place in February of 2020, he easily outboxed highly ranked contender Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Despite his ring appearances coming few and far between, Russell Jr. scoffs at the notion that anyone, other than himself, should be considered the best at 126 pounds. With that said, Magsayo believes Russell Jr.’s time at the top of the featherweight mountain is just about over.
“I’m going to show the world that I’m the best at this weight.”