Unbeaten featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr. has said that WBC titleholder Abner Mares would “be so easy” to defeat if they fought, to which Mares responded that Russell “hasn’t fought any A-level fighters.”
If things go according to plans, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer could land both Russell (22-0, 13 knockouts) and Mares (26-0-1, 14 KOs) on the same card on Aug. 24 as part of a Showtime-televised tripleheader to include junior featherweight Leo Santa Cruz (24-0-1, 14 KOs) at The StubHub Center (formerly The Home Depot Center) in Carson, Calif.
Schaefer will match Mares against former beltholder Jhonny Gonzalez (54-8, 46 KOs), with Santa Cruz challenging WBC 122-pound titleholder Victor Terrazas (37-2-1, 21 KOs), and Russell potentially facing an opponent to be determined.
“Aug. 24, that’s possible, but that date is not actually set in stone. It’s not actually set in stone as far as me fighting on that card,” said Russell Jr., who is advised by Al Haymon.
“Honestly, with Mares, it’s really not something that I’m thinking about. But it’s really possible that that fight could happen. There has been talk about it and we’ve actually spoken about it.”
In his last appearance on the May 4 undercard to Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero on Showtime Pay Per View, Mares won the WBC belt by stopping Daniel Ponce de Leon in nine rounds.
In his previous fight, Ponce de Leon had dethroned Gonzalez, 31, for the title, ending the loser’s 12- fight winning streak — which included 11 knockouts — by eighth-round technical decision last September.
Prior to defeating Ponce de Leon, Mares, 27, had mentioned Russell, 25, as as a potential opponent.Russell, meanwhile, is coming off a unanimous decision over Vyacheslav Gusev on March 2, during which he suffered a hairline fracture in his left hand which he said is healing well.
“As of now, I’m trying to get this tune up in to see how my hand is, and go from there. After that, then, I guess that all of this stuff [with Mares] can come into play,” said Russell.
“But it’s definitely possible that that fight could happen. It’s about time for us to be making move, and that would be a good notch under my belt. It would be a good notch to put under my belt.”
Photo by Al Bello, Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com