By Mitch Abramson
The promoter Bob Arum continued his verbal assault on the undefeated featherweight Garry Russell Jr., saying on Tuesday that Russell should never have been allowed to fight an eight-round bout against a lackluster opponent, like he did on Saturday, on HBO because it “hurts the brand.” Arum also took aim at Andre Berto, who won the IBF welterweight title against Jan Zaveck on Saturday, condemning the way he’s been developed by his handlers. As a result, Berto will “never amount to anything special,” according to Arum. Berto and Russell both fought on Saturday on HBO.
Of course, Arum does not promote either Russell or Berto, who have a combined record of 46-1.
“Gary Russell- maybe he ends up being a good fighter,” Arum said during a presser in Manhattan to hype Manny Pacquiao’s Nov. 12 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas. “But for them to handle him this way is wrong. He’ll become, trust me, another [Andre] Berto, who has never been schooled, was lucky that he cut this guy [Zaveck was unable to continue because of a cut over his right eye] or else he would have been beat."
"And the problem is that Berto is a nice young man- they’ve showered him with money by HBO, and as a consequence has never been prepared to fight at the higher level. There’s no way that a Berto, who is really schooled, loses to an [Victor] Ortiz. He has natural talent, a lot of charisma, but he’ll never amount to anything special.”
During a conference call last week, Arum called Russell Jr., who improved to 18-0 on Saturday and has some of the fastest hands in the sport, “another Al Haymon invention,” a reference to Russell’s manager, Al Haymon, who is also Berto’s manager.
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.