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‘Old man’ Gonzalez offers value against protected Russell Jnr

30 Mar | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
‘Old man’ Gonzalez offers value against protected Russell Jnr

Boxing News’ Danny Flexen says the Mexican could win big in Vegas

It’s rare that a reigning champion coming off a good run of form is considered an underdog on relatively neutral territory, unless their challenger happens to be superb.

Gary Russell Jnr is talented, for sure, but has largely been cosseted and is only two fights removed from a clear and humbling defeat to Vasyly Lomacheko; superb he is most certainly not.

He is an American competing in his home nation but Las Vegas – where his challenge to WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez takes place – is over 2,000 miles from his hometown of Capitol Heights, Maryland.

Mexico City’s – where Gonzalez lives – is actually 500 miles closer to Sin City. Perhaps Nevada’s proximity to heavily Latino California and the state’s own significant Mexican population explains why Gonzalez has fought there four times – winning twice – while skilful southpaw Russell Jnr has appeared just twice, one of those off-Strip.

Russell Jnr is seven years the younger man, much fresher and is the more refined, stylish operator.

But Gonzalez is more experienced, has fought by far the better opposition, packs greater power and possesses a five-inch reach advantage.

Out of Jhonny’s eight defeats, however, five have come against southpaws – too many to be coincidental – although he is on a winning run of five and knocked out the touted Abner Mares in 2013.

The Lomachenko reverse was the only time Russell Jnr has gone 12 rounds and he was outboxed, bullied at times.

There is not a single other name on his record that could be justifiably deemed world class. Gonzalez may also be the biggest puncher Russell, a quality amateur, has met.

So, all things considered, this is a 50-50 fight on paper, but the odds, thankfully, aren’t the same for both men.

IT’S rare that a reigning champion coming off a good run of form is considered an underdog on relatively neutral territory, unless their challenger happens to be superb.

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