Gary Russell Jr. turns down fight with Daniel Ponce De Leon

Scott Heavey

Gary Russell Jr. has turned down a proposed fight with featherweight contender Daniel Ponce De Leon.

Remember that report last week about Daniel Ponce De Leon agreeing to a proposed fight with super-duper prospect of the millenium Gary Russell Jr.? Well, flush it down the drain.

According to a report by Max Boxing's Steve Kim, Russell has decided to turn down the potential fight with Daniel Ponce De Leon. Kim was able to speak with Ponce De Leon through an interpreter, and was told that Russell's management wanted to give him an easier fight due to his recent inactivity.

Here is, through interpreter Ruben Gomez, what Ponce De Leon had to say:

"I was notified today that (Russell) didn't want to fight.

"I'm very healthy and definitely want to fight him. We were willing to do 128 pounds, they didn't go for it. So we're moving up to 130.

"I was told that due to his inactivity that they'd rather give him an easy fight before they put him with me.

"I was ready; the television network wanted the fight. Everybody wanted the fight except Gary Russell. People wanted to see that fight and Gary Russell is the one who didn't want the fight."

This is a bit of a bummer because boxing fans have been waiting for Russell to finally take a real step up in his competition level. Ponce De Leon would have definitely been that step up while also providing Russell with an opponent that, while a good veteran fighter, is not a world-beater. Ponce De Leon can certainly be handled and, if Russell is as special as most of us figure he is, he could have handled him.

Be as it may, they could still square off sometime next year. At age 25, Russell is getting to that point where it's time to step up or people may gradually lose interest. It would not be shocking if they had the fight next year, whether Russell is ready or not.

But for now, it looks like it's going to be TBA again.

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