Via Jeff Aaron: Gary Russell Jr looked 100% exhausted Friday at the equalizer to defend his WBC featherweight title against No. 1 mandatory challenger Mark Magsayo.
(Image source: Amanda Westcott / Showtime)
The difference between what a young 26-year-old Magsayo looks like and the old and exhausted Russell Jr is like night and day.
This is the wrong opponent for Russell, 33, to fight if he’s under 100%, as Magsayo can’t punch and is a relentless attacker.
Hopefully, Russell Jr knows what he’s getting into this fight as we could see a new champion on Saturday.
Russell Jr. (31-1-1, 18 KOs) sailing into a perfect storm with him going into the war wounded, weighed down, old, and hadn’t fought in two years.
It’s a terrible combination of things that Russell has turned against him in this fight, and it may end up being too much for him in the end.
Russell Jr says he feels energized
“I’m fine. A little miscalculation on my scale. I wanted to gain weight correctly,” Gary Russell Jr. told Fighthype after weighing. “126, I died with my scales.
“We are right about the scale. I feel good and full of energy. We’re ready to make a fuss. Mine pops up here. I’m glad he’s here because he was able to do that. He’s still not in the best of health, but we’re going to shake it up,” said Russell.
“You’re 33 years old here, you’ve made six title defenses, but you’re fighting for the first time in two years against Mark Magsayo, Freddie’s powerful, fast-trained featherweight fighter. Roach,” said Max Kellerman. Max on Boxing when talking about Gary Russell Jr. “How dangerous is this fight for you at this point in your career?”
“To be honest with you, every fight is dangerous for me at this point in my career,” said Russell Jr. “Whoever I’m competing with at this stage is a challenge.
Gary Jr. admits Magsayo is “dangerous”
“It was a dangerous fight, so I prepared to the best of my ability,” Russell Jr said of his defense against Magsayo, 26.
“We’re ready; we’re focused.”
“Is it because you’re older or because you’ve reached a level where, if you don’t duck, you’ll have to fight killer after killer?” Kellerman told Russell. “Why is every fight dangerous at this point in your career?”
“It’s a bit of both,” said Russell Jr as he got older and fought killers in turn. “I’m not ducking you guys, and I’m fighting killer after killer, as you said.
“I don’t fight with others [featherweight] champions because they’re not willing to unify,” says Russell Jr., “I always compete with my must-have challenger.
“For the fans who don’t know, the obligatory challenger is the next best for the world champion. I’m not number 1. My number one challenger is my number one guy. I am the champion. That’s why.
Russell Jr. “I prepare myself to the best of my ability, no matter what the situation.
With Russell’s habit of only fighting once a year, he puts himself in a position of always being stuck fighting his obligatory challenger, which is very risky when you’re only participating in annual fights .
Usually, a champion wants to be as active as possible before facing their compulsion. However, Russell is at a disadvantage with the bad habit of defending every year instead of two to three times.
Gary Russell Jr. with. Mark Magsayo lower weights
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- Max Garland 146.5 vs Marik Black 142.5
- Rasheen Brown 124 vs Katsuma Akitsugi 123.5
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