Doug Fischer

On the Cusp: 10 fighters poised to make major breakthroughs in 2012

GARY RUSSELL JR.
Weight class: Featherweight
Age: 23
Record: 18-0 (10 KOs)
Region: Capitol Heights, Md.
Skinny: The highly decorated amateur star carried the reputation as America’s most talented prospect into his last bout, an HBO-televised eight-rounder against hard-punching fringe contender Leonilo Miranda, and the super-fast southpaw did not disappoint. Russell easily outclassed and out-pointed Miranda, who brought a 32-3 record with 30 knockouts into the showcase bout in September. The 28-year-old Mexican brawler had given undefeated former Cuban amateur star Luis Franco hell in a 10-round spilt-decision loss in his previous bout, but he literally could not lay a glove on Russell. The bout was rather uneventful thanks to Russell’s mastery, which doesn’t bode well for his future marketability unless the level of his competition is significantly increased. Luckily for the 2008 U.S. Olympian, there’s no shortage of talented young 126-pounders for him to fight, including RING-rated Mikey Garcia and former amateur rivals Ronny Rios and Roberto Marroquin. At press time, Russell was scheduled to make his second HBO appearance underneath the Adrien Broner-Vicente Rodriguez fight in November.
Strengths: Extensive amateur background… elite-level speed and reflexes… punch accuracy… excellent technique… above-average power… southpaw jab and body attack… managed by Al Haymon.
Weaknesses: Brittle hands… short and stocky (5-foot-5 with a 61-inch wingspan) even for a featherweight… sometimes gets bored during fights… can be repetitive with his offense.

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