Gary Russell Jr. is very confident that a pay-per-view fight between him and Gervonta Davis would do big business.
Russell is so sure, he thinks that if he and Davis squared off on the same night welterweight rivals Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. finally fought that there would be more interest in Russell-Davis. That scenario would never occur, of course, because Spence, Russell and Davis all are affiliated with Al Haymon, who wouldn’t compete against himself for pay-per-view buys.
Russell doesn’t even think he’ll get the opportunity to fight Davis, despite that it’s a marketable matchup. As much as the WBC featherweight champion wants to move up to face the undefeated Davis – who owns WBA belts at junior lightweight and lightweight – he doesn’t think Davis’ promoter, Floyd Mayweather, would allow it.
The skillful, smart southpaw figures Mayweather realizes it would be entirely too risky to match Davis against him. Russell broke down his thoughts on a potential showdown with Davis during an appearance on an episode of “The PBC Podcast,” co-hosted by Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal.
“Y’all asking the wrong person that question,” Russell replied when asked about boxing Davis. “Y’all need to be asking Floyd Mayweather that. You know, because I don’t think they feel it’s in Tank’s best interests to step in the ring with me. You know, these guys, they tend to cater to their fighters. They cater to the guys in the sport. They cater to these guys. They consider him the next big thing. I think I’m too much of a threat. I’m too much of a risk. I can really f--kin’ fight.
“You know, and I’m willing to make the fight happen. I ain’t one of these guys that’s gonna run away from the fight. You know, we’re gonna make the fight happen. And I honestly feel as though they believe I have the skill set and everything to make it very, very difficult, and expose their fighter. And if I do that, you know, that kinda messes up their investment.”
The 32-year-old Russell (31-1, 18 KOs) doesn’t have a fight scheduled. The Capitol Heights, Maryland, resident is willing to move up to 130 pounds or even the lightweight limit of 135 pounds to challenge Davis in his next fight.
The 2008 U.S. Olympian also mentioned remaining at 126 pounds for another defense of his WBC featherweight title.
The 26-year-old Davis’ next fight hasn’t been scheduled, either. Baltimore’s Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) viciously knocked out Leo Santa Cruz (37-2-1, 19 KOs), one of Russell’s rivals, with an uppercut in the sixth round of his last fight, October 31 at Alamodome in San Antonio.
“[In] my completely unbiased opinion, I felt like Leo held his own very, very well,” Russell said. “I felt like Leo, he got stopped in the sixth round, I think – I honestly think that leading up to the sixth round, Leo was clearly winning in my book.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.