Gary Russell Jr: "I don't think Gamboa or Donaire is as techinically sound as I am"Written by Joseph Herron
Less than two months after his 1st round blowout victory over tough veteran fighter Heriberto Ruiz in Cincinnati, Ohio, 23 year old phenom Gary Russell Jr. will face his next Super Featherweight opponent on the undercard of the big rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto; which has been slated for a February 11th date in Las Vegas, NV.
The Sports Illustrated "Prospect of the Year" 2011 Boxing Award recipient explains why he is always ready to take on tough opponents with such frequency.
"Coming from a competitive boxing family obviously helps me stay sharp, but at the end of the day it's your own self drive and discipline that determines the amount of success that you have. If you want to be the best you have to work for it. I don't care how many great people you're surrounded by, you have to put in the work yourself to get what you want and meet the goals you set for yourself."
The mature young prospect expounds on what keeps him motivated and driven to be the best at his selected craft.
"I absolutely love what I do. I really don't look at this as my job or my occupation. Boxing is something that I genuinely love to do. I tell everyone after I fight that I'm back in the gym the following Monday, which is so true."
"I tell myself when I'm resting that the other guys in my division aren't. So I always have to work overtime. Right now I'm on my grind and I'm focused, and I want to stay that way."
Although Gary realizes the importance of maintaining such ambitious character, he admits that having his Father and trainer so close to home definitely has its advantages.
"Sometimes I'll be at home and my wife will already be asleep, but I'll be up and bored. So, I'll just call my Dad and say, let's go the gym and work on something. It's little things like that which keep me sharp and focused on the goals that I set for myself."
Although the former 2008 Olympian is already being touted as the next great Featherweight Champion, the humble young fighter claims that he wants to take his time and do things the right way.
"Honestly, I don't see myself fighting for a major world title until the end of 2012 or possibly the early part of 2013. We're taking our time because we know that we will ultimately be more successful for a longer duration if we move at the appropriate pace."
"I'm only 23 years old and I'm not even in the prime of my career yet, so we have nothing but time on our hands to accomplish our goal of becoming a world champion."
Despite making a conscious effort to maneuver his career at a measured and tactical pace, he warns boxing observers everywhere not to confuse patience with a lack of confidence.
"Even though I want to do things the proper way, I feel as though I can already mix it up with the best of them. I know that most people think of Yuriorkis Gamboa as the best fighter in the Featherweight division and I hear that Nonito Donaire is currently moving up in weight. Those guys are supposed to be the super fighters in and around my weight class, and I think they're good fighters. But honestly, I don't think they can match what I'm bringing to the table."
"I'm not trying to take anything away from those fighters; this is just how confident I am in my abilities. I've watched these guys very closely and I see a lot of flaws in their boxing. I feel that I'm a much better technical boxer than either of those fighters and I don't see them being able to match my ability."
"I've seen a lot of mistakes made by Gamboa and Donaire in the ring, and that's what we work on in the gym is how to capitalize on other fighter's mistakes. That's what we focus on is how to exploit the shortcomings of current and potential opponents. I have much respect for those fighters, but I feel that I would be too technically sound for them when and if we ever meet."
"Honestly, I see a lot of flaws in all of these guys at the top of the division and hopefully I get to them before someone else does."
As we look forward to seeing Mr. Russell Jr. compete several times throughout the New Year, Gary assures all true fans of the sport that we should feel excited about boxing's potential in 2012.
"This is truly an exciting time for boxing. Most people have a 'here and now' type of mentality, but we have a lot of new faces and young fighters coming up in the sport who have limitless potential. I feel that I am one of those faces who are going to help boxing attract some new fans to the sport."
"Boxing will have a lot to offer the average sports fan in 2012. We will start to see the changing of the guard in the New Year and witness quite a few new faces emerge from the pack to become true attractions of boxing. This is going to be an exciting year for everyone who loves the sweet science."