Former two-division titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon says that he's accepted a September 7 date to face Gary Russell Jr on Showtime, but Russell has not yet agreed to terms. If the fight does happen, it would have a prime date, as the one-week lead-in to the Mayweather-Canelo show on Showtime pay-per-view, likely paired with an All Access episode.
From Rene Umanzor:
"I was offered Gary Russell Jr., and I want that fight but at 130. I'm going to fight on September 7, a week before Canelo's fight [with Mayweather]. That is what we are doing right now. I hope Russell takes the fight, I already accepted it. Golden Boy wants the fight, the television network wants it and now it is only up to him to accept. It would be in El Paso, Texas," Ponce said.
Ponce De Leon (44-5, 35 KO) lost his WBC featherweight belt to Abner Mares on May 4, stopped in the ninth round of a good fight where he found himself outgunned by a superior fighter. Russell (22-0, 13 KO) has built up his record on really, really soft opposition to date, and while he looks like he has the goods, talent-wise, Ponce De Leon is familiar with that sort of position, as he was matched in 2011 with Adrien Broner on HBO and took the hyped young talent to the limit over 10 rounds, losing a close and debated decision.
The 25-year-old Russell has started to hear plenty of criticism of the matchmaking decisions his team has made to date, but he's also openly said he's not concerned with that, and happy with his own progress. Ponce De Leon wants the fight, and it's a big chance for him. But will Russell, Al Haymon, and the rest of the team want to do it? That remains to be seen.