By Rick Reeno
Frank Espinoza, the manager of former champion Daniel Ponce de Leon (44-5, 35KOs), advised BoxingScene.com that Gary Russell Jr. (22-0, 13KOs) has turned down a potential fight with his boxer.
BoxingScene reported last week that Ponce was offered the opportunity to face Russell on a Showtime televised date of September 7th in Texas. Ponce accepted the fight, as long as the match took place at 130-pounds. Ponce is planning to move up to super featherweight. Russell, although a featherweight, has not made the actual limit since July 2011 - weighing in between 126 and 127 for his last five fights.
Ponce last fought on May 4th, and was stopped by Abner Mares in the ninth round of their co-featured bout on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero pay-per-view.
"Golden Boy Promotions [who have both boxers] told me Russell turned down the fight. My guy just had a tough fight with Mares in May and he wasn't looking for no easy fight in his next one. That last guy who who Russell fought, I don't even remember who he was [Vyacheslav Gusev], that guy wouldn't last four rounds with Ponce De Leon. Russell has 22 fights and I couldn't even tell you three of his opponents," Espinoza told BoxingScene.com.
"Golden Boy offered us Russell and Ponce accepted the fight without hesitation. I don't think Russell and his team expected Ponce to accept the fight. I see him talking about Ponce in all of these interviews and making it appear like he wants to fight Ponce, but I don't think he ever really wanted a fight with my guy. And that's fine, we understand. A lot of guys out there are always talking about a fight with Ponce, but it's a different story when a contract to fight Ponce is actually on the table."