Gary Russell Jr, perhaps the top prospect in the boxing (though we could just as easily call him a contender despite his resume), suffered a hairline fracture on his left hand during his decision win over Vyacheslav Gusev this past Saturday night. Russell said he believes the injury occurred sometime in the fourth or fifth round, and was made worse when his glove ripped in the eighth round. After an examination on Tuesday, he was told he will need to be out of action for six to eight weeks.
Here is what Russell had to say on the injury, via The Ring Magazine's website:
"It's not my wrist, but my left hand. It's a hairline fracture. It happened, I believe, somewhere around the fifth or sixth round. I don't think it's a recurring injury.
The entire glove actually split open. It split open on the side of the glove where my hand was hurting on. That was the support that I needed.
I think it's an injury that basically came from us switching the style of gloves at the last minute. We changed to a different style of gloves because we wanted to give me more protection. The injury, I think, is a side effect of that.
We'll have to see how everything goes. But at this point, we probably won't be back into the ring until June. We had big plans for this year, and we're just hoping that this injury won't set us back."
This is a bummer for one of boxing's most talented practitioners. We have all been waiting for Russell to really have a breakout year, and though the injury isn't truly terrible or anything, it's certainly a detour on his path.
Unfortunately, hand issues have been a problem for him in the past as well. Some boxers eventually get past the problem. Floyd Mayweather had hand issues early in his career, but hasn't had much issues with them as he has gotten older. Some, however, can never get past it. Let's hope it's just a minor setback.