The Cold Hard Truth: On Sports

Highlights from Russell-Escandon Presser

Highlights from Russell-Escandon Presser

By James Bell


Gary Russell Jr. and Oscar Escandon have been waiting for this weekend for different reasons. On one side, Escandon has been eager to have a shot at a world title and he will get his first opportunity on May 20th. On the other side, Gary Russell Jr. will have his first professional fight near his hometown. He was born in Washington DC and now resides in nearby Capitol Heights, so he’s just a 20 minute drive away from his home when he fights on Saturday night.

Now this WBC featherweight title fight was scheduled to be on March 11th, but Escandon suffered a back injury which forced a postponement. They agreed to have the rescheduled fight on May 20th, and now both fighters are ready to go. Oscar is looking forward to this world title opportunity and feels that he is comfortable at featherweight to compete. “…I feel strong (at this weight), I feel healthy, I have no intentions of moving up in weight,” Escandon said leading up to the press conference at the MGM National Harbor. “This is a very important fight for my career, it is going to elevate me to where I want to be and really give me the platform to go wherever I want to go.”

At the press conference, Oscar Escandon had a short speech but choice words leading up to the title fight against Gary Russell Jr. as he aspires to become champion.

“I don’t like to talk much, but I can let you know that I’m coming and I will take the world championship back to Colombia…I respect Gary but my mindset is to go home with the WBC featherweight title. It doesn’t bother me that I am fighting in his hometown. I am going to go out, do my business, and take the world title.”

When you look at the card for May 20th at the MGM National Harbor, you may think that there would be a lot on the mind of Gary Russell Jr. as not only will he defend the WBC featherweight title on Saturday night, his brothers will be part of the card (Gary Antuanne and Gary Antonio) plus his father – Gary Russell Sr. – will be there as the main trainer for all of them. On top of that, May 20th is the birthday of Gary Sr.

An “early” birthday cake for Gary Sr. at the press conference

Even with all of that, Gary Russell Jr. is relaxed and prepared for Saturday night against Oscar Escandon. Many boxing analysts that highly rate Russell point to his composure inside and outside of the ring, and his appreciation for the sport of boxing. At the press conference he gave examples of that.

“My father told me that what creates a war is two fighters that didn’t have a Plan B…you have to have a level of versatility…the more intellectual fighter is most likely the one that wins the fight,” Gary Jr. stated after he walked up to the podium. “Boxing is a sweet science, and I feel that it has become a lost art.”

“I am ready to rumble. I judge my success and my training camps by how much I get cursed out in the gym. We didn’t get cursed out this camp. That means we on point. We ready.”

Both fighters are ready for the title fight on March 20th

This has the makings to be a great fight on Saturday night as Escandon wants to carry over the momentum that he had when he knocked out Robinson Castellanos last March (at the DC Armory) and Russell Jr. had TKO wins over Patrick Hyland last April and Jhonny Gonzalez in 2015 to win the WBC belt. We will see on Saturday night who will come out as the victor.

Photos taken by James Bell for The Boxing Source

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Highlights from Russell-Escandon Presser
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Highlights from Russell-Escandon Presser

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