Gary Russell Jr, the hyped featherweight prospect, will open Thursday night's Ortiz vs Collazo broadcast on FOX Sports 1 against Miguel Tamayo, a fight that once again should be a gimme for the talented American.
Russell, 25, has stated repeatedly that he doesn't mind the criticism of the way his career has so slowly progressed, which is a good thing, because we're now at the point where it's worth wondering if his team might not be quite as confident in his skills as they've let on. He's 23-0 (13 KO) as a pro, has shown at least a mirage of world class ability, great hand speed, good boxing skills, and yet he's facing Tamayo, with a record of 15-7-2 (13 KO).
Tamayo, a southpaw from Mexico, has lost three of his last four. The losses were to pretty good fighters -- McWilliams Arroyo, Cesar Seda, Jonathan Oquendo -- but Russell is supposed to be past this. He was beating guys at least as good as Tamayo two or three years ago. There is simply no progress in his career. The opposition is not improving, and thus Russell is not showing us anything we don't already know.
The one major issue Russell has had is tender hands, but that can only explain so much. Floyd Mayweather and Paulie Malignaggi have bad hands, too, and have for years. They moved their careers along. Is there something missing with Russell? Are we at red flag time?