Showtime Championship Boxing show down between Gary Russell Jr. versus Jhonny Gonzalez & Jermell Charlo versus Vanes Martirosyan took place March 28th 2015 at the Pearl Theater and Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada
To know what happened in this bout, you have to go back to Russell’s previous fight against (and loss to) Vasyl Lomachenko in June of 2014. In his post-fight comments, Russell berated himself for not following his game plan – being the initiator rather than the defender; being the fighter who seeks to close the distance rather than spar from a distance.
The first loss of his career probably burned its way into his mind as he worked his three-a-day training sessions. An undefeated record out the window because he failed to follow his plan. The internal spring was being wound tighter and tighter with every passing day. His next opponent was going to receive more than they bargained for.
And so it was from the first moments of this day’s contest – up from the stool and getting at his opponent, never providing an opening, swinging and landing punches in quick succession and most importantly – following the game plan which has worked for him in the past. Gonzalez was the stand-in for what Russell really needed to conquer – any doubts that he had about himself. Consider those questions answered.
As for the actual contest, the arc of this fight was easy to follow – each round was more punishing than the next. Near the end of round three, Gonzalez was knocked to the canvas but found his feet as the bell sounded. The fourth saw a diminished Gonzalez knocked down not once but twice which prompted referee Tony Weeks to halt the fight – a good/wise/proper call.
Russell now owns the WBC Featherweight belt.
In the co-feature, welterweight Jermell Charlo took a ten round decision over his challenger, Vanes Martirosyan, 97-93, 96-94 and 96-94. For Charlo, this was clearly a step up as Martirosyan was reputed to be a much tougher opponent. For Martiroysan, an inadvertent head-butt in the eighth left him with a cut above is left eye which may or may not have contributed to the outcome. This was a close fight and a tough decision for the judges.