MANILA, Philippines – Undefeated American boxer Gary Russell Jr. is impressed with world super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, but advised “The Filipino Flash” to stay at boxing’s 122-pound weight division.
Russell, who has 20 wins and is a promising prospect at featherweight (126-pounds), told Examiner that he is impressed with Donaire, whom he called a “fundamentally sound” boxer.
“I think he’s a good fighter. He’s one of the fighters that is out here in boxing that I feel is fundamentally sound. I feel a lot of guys win off of natural athleticism,” Russell said.
“A lot of these guys have a lot of flaws that I see and Nonito Donaire is one of the few that I feel has very little flaws and is technically sound,” he added.
But Russell said Donaire would be smart to stay at super bantamweight and clean out the division first, before contemplating a move to featherweight.
“I think it would definitely be smart for him to stay at 122 and one of the reasons is that in his last fight, he spoke on how he felt he didn’t bring his punching ability up with him in weight,” Russell said.
“He was actually at 118 (pounds) first, I believe, and he just moved up to 122. He felt that he didn’t bring the same power at 118 that he did to 122,” he added.
Russell believes that Donaire is “exceptional enough” that he will be able to do well at featherweight, but said that the Filipino Flash “can be beaten.”
“If he’d be willing to take the fight (against me), I don’t think he could deal with my hand speed or my punching ability as well,” Russell said.
Donaire will face South African boxer Jeffrey Mathebula in a bout to unify the WBO and IBF super bantamweight titles this Saturday in California (Sunday in Manila).