3 More Rounds

Gonzalez to combat Russell with speed and power

Jhonny Gonzalez training

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

Featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KOs) is only days away from making his third title defense against Gary Russell Jr. (25-1, 14 KOs) in Las Vegas, and the hard-hitting Mexican knows he’s in for a tough fight.

“I have been very focused for the past three months during my training camp. I have been training in the high altitude in Toluca, Mexico,” said Gonzalez during his media day workout this week. “I have had two title defenses since beating Abner Mares and I am excited and ready for my fight on Saturday.”

Gonzalez earned his current title with a stunning knockout over Abner Mares in late 2013, and has made two successful title defenses since — a technical decision over Clive Atwell and a TKO of former multi-division champ Jorge Arce.

“Ever since beating Mares, I feel like I am finally getting the respect and support from the fans and media that I deserve. I get recognized all of the time now. The recognition motivates me to work harder than ever before and not let my fans down,” added Gonzalez. “I feel like I am in my boxing prime. There is still so much to prove and show to the world that I am still at the top of my game and capable of fighting with the best.”

Despite his eight losses, Gonzalez has always been a dangerous opponent even during those times, as he possesses bone-crunching power that can end the fight at any moment. And in Russell, he’ll have to compete with someone that carries lighting-quick handspeed and good foot movement, along with his own knockout capabilities.

Jhonny Gonzalez on the speedbag

“I know that Gary Russell Jr. has fast and powerful hands. He is a quick and strong southpaw. I know he’s an excellent boxer,” said Gonzalez. “I am going to attack him with my power and speed. Once he feels my power in the ring, he’s not going to be able to think in there. He’s going to run, but if he decides to brawl with us, then we will have something for him.”

Perhaps, going right on the attack may indeed be the best tactic for Gonzalez who cannot allow Russell to get into a rhythm, and though Russell possesses superior speed, Gonzalez is up for the challenge.

“A lot of people are doubting me going into this fight because of the speed of Russell. It’s a great challenge for me and I can’t wait to get in the ring.

“I am absolutely looking for the knockout and I believe I will get it. I don’t expect this fight to go the distance. I am going to pressure him from the opening bell, my conditioning and confidence is at an all-time high. I am very anxious for this title fight, I want to fight right now.”

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