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Gary Russell: Berchelt Would Be Easy Work; Too Slow, Flat-Footed

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – Gary Russell Jr. will remain at featherweight for one reason and one reason only.

But if the WBC 126-pound champion cannot secure the title unification fight he wants with Leo Santa Cruz, he plans to move up to 130 pounds for his next fight. Russell out-classed Spain’s Kiko Martinez on Saturday before their fight was stopped in the fifth round due to a nasty cut over Martinez’s left eye.

After dismantling Martinez (39-9-2, 28 KOs), Russell urged Premier Boxing Champions’ Al Haymon to put Santa Cruz in the ring with him next. Russell (30-1, 18 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympian, went as far as to wear a tee shirt with that exact message on its back while he was interviewed by Showtime’s Jim Gray.

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While Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) obviously is Russell’s preferred opponent for later this year, he has his eye on another champion if Santa Cruz doesn’t want to fight him. Russell would like for his first fight at the 130-pound limit to come against WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (36-1, 32 KOs).

Mexico’s Berchelt battered Francisco Vargas (25-2-2, 18 KOs) for much of their rematch May 11 in Tucson, Arizona. He won that bout by technical knockout following the fifth round, but Berchelt doesn’t have an opponent for his next fight.

Russell is confident that if Berchelt boxed him, he would become a two-division champion pretty easily.

“That’s the only reason I’m at 126 now, is to compete against Leo Santa Cruz,” Russell told BoxingScene.com. “If it was up to me, I would’ve automatically moved up to 130 and challenged Berchelt. I think Berchelt has the WBC at 130. I have the belt at 126, so I could immediately challenge the champion above me. That would be easy work. He’s too slow, too flat-footed, just easy work. I’d do whatever I want to him, take his title from him, and we’ll move forward from there.”

Russell also told BoxingScene.com that he would welcome a fight against Gervonta Davis if Russell moves up to 130 pounds. Davis (21-0, 20 KOs) is from Baltimore, near Russell’s hometown of Capitol Heights, Maryland, which would make theirs a big fight in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area.

Davis’ next bout, a mandatory WBA super featherweight title defense against Panama’s Ricardo Nunez (21-2, 19 KOs), was announced Saturday night. Showtime will televise that fight as the main event of a July 27 telecast from Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Boxing101_ on 05-30-2019

I like Leo a lot but he hasn’t fought anyone close to the skill level of Gary Russel. Imo he has fought guys that compliments his style which is to turn it into a slugfest. Frampton said the hell with…

Comment by -MAKAVELLI- on 05-30-2019

Berchelt is a lil flat footed, not that fast and wings his punches but he could give GRJ problems...hell, im not even sure GRJ gets past LSC tbh

Comment by Mister Wolf on 05-30-2019

So sign up with Top Rank or position yourself to become his mandatory.

Comment by Boxing101_ on 05-30-2019

[QUOTE=DJrabit;19762629]Blah Blah Blah typical PBC fighter calling out fighters they never intent to fight. Look at the D class fighter you just fought. Look at you fighting TBA next.[/QUOTE] Gary isn’t signed to PBC, and hasn't been for at least…

Comment by Phill lynott on 05-22-2019

Enough already! Not all fans are ignorant believers in what they hear or read. Funny how he limits his sights to the one guy he might have a chance against. LSC would have destroyed him not to long ago but…

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