Thursday, June 27, 2013
Return in the works for Russell
By Dan Rafael
Golden Boy is working on moving unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. to an Aug. 24 tripleheader on Showtime.
A few notes from around the boxing world:
• Featherweight Gary Russell Jr., the 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year, has missed some fights because of injuries. But when his most recent bout was called off, it wasn't his fault. Russell (22-0, 13 KOs), recovering from a fractured hand, was supposed to fight July 13 on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins' mandatory light heavyweight title defense against Karo Murat before the Showtime-televised card was canceled because of Murat's visa issues.
Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that he is working to move Russell to his Aug. 24 card in Carson, Calif., and that the Showtime broadcast would become a tripleheader. Featherweight titlist Abner Mares defends against former titlist Jhonny Gonzalez in the main event with junior featherweight titlist Victor Terrazas facing former bantamweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz in the co-feature. Schaefer said he likes that spot for Russell because he could eventually challenge Mares, sooner rather than later.
"I'm not like some promoters who like to let fights marinate. I don't like to marinate," said Schaefer in a dig at Top Rank rival Bob Arum, who lost a very big fight between Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa because Arum said he wanted to "let it marinate" and Lopez got knocked out.
• Former junior middleweight titlist Cornelius "K9" Bundrage, who lost his belt to Ishe Smith in February, hopes to be back this fall against former titlist Miguel Cotto, who is coming off a December loss to Austin Trout in a title bout. "My sights are set on Miguel Cotto," Bundrage told ESPN.com. "Team K9 [is] working to make it happen. Gabriel [Penagaricano], who is Cotto's adviser, has been in communication with my adviser and management. Gabriel is a good guy and I have much respect for Cotto and his heart. ... We are warriors. This [proposed] fight will be the new Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward fight. I am so ready to get this battle of warriors done."
• Adrien Broner's Showtime debut last Saturday was a hit for the network. Broner, one of boxing's most polarizing figures, outpointed Paulie Malignaggi to win a welterweight title. Showtime announced the fight drew an eye-catching 1.3 million viewers, the second-largest audience for a Showtime bout since it began tracking individual fights in 2009. Showtime also said the average viewership for the tripleheader was the second highest average since Nielsen began separating Showtime from its multiplex channels in 2004. This is just a continuation of increased viewership for the network's boxing events over the past two years.
• Joan Guzman (33-1-1, 20 KOs) faces Vicente Mosquera (32-2-1, 17 KOs) for a vacant interim junior welterweight title in a battle of former titleholders Friday night (Telemundo, 11:30 ET) in Kissimmee, Florida. Guzman is coming off his only loss in November, when he was unable to continue in the eighth round after hurting his leg on an unintentional foul. It resulted in Guzman losing a technical decision to Khabib Allakhverdiev for a vacant world title. Guzman, a former junior featherweight and junior lightweight titlist, said his leg is fine. "I'm 100 percent recovered from my injury," Guzman, 37, said. "I'm looking forward to showing the boxing world that I'm still a force to be reckoned with."
• Middleweight prospect Anthony Ogogo, a 2012 British Olympic bronze medalist has been added to the July 13 card in Hull, England headlined by the pro debut of teammate Luke Campbell, the bantamweight gold medal medalist. Ogogo (2-0, 1 KO) will face an opponent to be determined in a six-rounder. The card also includes the rematch between welterweight contender Kell Brook and Carson Jones. Ogogo's addition to the card was made possible because his promoter, Golden Boy, was able to make a deal show promoter Eddie Hearn.
"It's great to be on the same card as my Olympic teammate and one of my best friends outside of the ring, Luke Campbell," said Ogogo, who turned pro in April in England and had his second fight May 18 in Atlantic City, N.J. "I expect a spectacular performance from Luke and I'm planning on delivering one myself and really give my home country fans a show."