Boxing Preview – Gary Russell Jr vs Jhonny Gonzalez

Boxing Preview – Gary Russell Jr vs Jhonny Gonzalez

3am) Gary Russell Jr vs Jhonny Gonzalez

This weekend, we look back down to the lower weights as we see two featherweights duke it out in a star-studded 12-round contest in Las Vegas. The defending WBC World featherweight champion and the man who always overcomes the odds defends his belt against the man who is deemed to have the fasted hands on the planet, Gary Russell Jr.

Jhonny Gonzalez is what you might consider a Boxing journeyman. The featherweight out of Mexico has carved quite a respectable 65 fight record fighting with 57 of them being wins, and an even more impressive stat of 48 of those wins coming by stoppage. That’s quite remarkable for a World champion at the age of 33. He’s a two weight world champion, including fighting for World championships at two different weights which boasts the experience he has. Although the large majority of his career was fought in Mexico, he challenged for some his belts there and took on some good opposition. He won his current belt after a dominant stoppage performance against Hozumi Hazegawa back in 2011. He since then lost the belt to Daniel Ponce De Leon, before finally winning it back against P4P darling Abner Mares who he sensationally knocked out in the first round after Mares won the belt in his previous bout against Ponce De Leon. He most recently defended the belt against Jorge Arce and he continues to overcome the odds.

His record shows where his main strength lies. He’s a potent finisher with a great killer instinct. His power punching is his go to and he has one of the most disastrous left hooks in the game. Just see what he did to Abner Mares. This has been his go to punch and it really is more of a tee-off for him over a jab which is scary. This usually makes up for his rough around the edges Boxing ability, but it’s not proven enough in some fights against more skilled Boxers, seen in some of his eight losses, particularly seen in World championship bouts. He will win this fight by not being manipulated by Russell’s speed. He can’t be drawn into the fight that Russell wants to fight otherwise he will get outboxed, meaning he has to shroud Russell and exert his power from the opening bell.

Gary Russell Jr’s rise to prominence has been a little different for a prospect. Largely touted for his super-human hand speed combined with deadly punching, a lot of pessimists were out because of his rather unchallenged resume 20 fights into his professional career. They doubted his chances against a polished Boxer. His first real challenge came against one of those Boxers last year in his first World championship contest against Vasyl Lomachenko. The pessimists were proven right as his speed couldn’t help him get outboxed. That being said, he showed good competitiveness against one of Boxing’s young prodigies. He has shown the minerals needed to be a World champion, it’s just a case of showing a will to win against the odds now, which leads to tonight’s title shot.

I’ve harped on about it a lot already, but it’s undeniable that Russell probably has the fastest hands in the game right now. It’s quite magical to watch. His whole game is based around his speed in general but his fast hands combined with deadly and calculated punching make him tough work. He’s also a good Boxer but there’s doubts of his ability against proven Boxers still which was exposed against Lomachenko. He needs to be a ring general tonight. He can’t give Gonzalez an inch because he will take a mile. He needs to cut the ring off and be the puppet master, controlling the fight with his speed so that Gonzalez doesn’t get good opportunities to fire his punches.

This is a really great contest, and as much as I admire Gonzalez for what he’s achieved in Boxing and for always overcoming big challenges, I see something about Russell which makes me really excited about where he’s going with his currently tender career. He has so much room for improvement with a great foundation to build upon. In the end, as the saying goes, speed kills, and unless Gonzalez pulls out one of those punches from the gods tonight, scoring a flash knockdown, I see Russell outboxing his way to a really aesthetically pleasing victory. I think he took a lot from the loss to Lomachenko, and he will use that to his advantage against an ageing champion. Russell by a competitively dominant decision.


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