Gary Russell Jr. hasn’t fought for almost two years, but he’s ready for a title defense against undefeated Mark Magsayo.
Atlantic City hosts the WBC World featherweight title bout between Russell (31-1) and Magsayo (23-0). It’s expected to be a thrilling contest and boxing fans are eager to see what the champion delivers.
Boxing betting markets have Russell at -550, so the impressive American could shake off the rust and come out swinging on Saturday.
Gary Russell Jr. vs Mark Magsayo
Champion Ready for Comeback
Confidence isn’t something Russell lacks. He is one of the premier featherweights in the world and he’s ready to put on a show.
He has fought the likes of Kiko Martinez, Joseph Diaz and Jhonny Gonzalez, so he has been in the ring with some big names.
His only loss came against Vasyl Lomachenko when the superstar was just getting started, so it’s not a bad loss to have on the record.
There are concerns about being rusty after having not fought since February 2020. However, Russell, who defeated Tugstsogt Nyambayar by unanimous decision, believes he’s ready.
“Of course I’m ready. I’m excited to get back in there and throw some punches, display my skill set to the fans, man, and the people out there that truly love the sport of boxing,” Russell told YahooSports.
“I get a little bit of it all, I have the hand speed, I have the punching power, and I also have the intellect. I think it all plays a part, it’s a great blend to have.”
Russell has been through adversity after losing two brothers. His resilience despite personal tragedy should be commended and it makes him a stronger fighter.
The sportsbook expects him to come through mandatory challenger Magsayo without any problems, but there has been some money for the underdog.
Is Magsayo a Threat?
Magsayo has yet to suffer a defeat in 23 career fights, so the Filipino fighter can’t be overlooked.
Ranked 20th in the featherweight division, it appears to be an easy fight for Russell, but Magsayo has fought three times since Russell last fought.
The 26-year-old has won 16 of his 23 fights by knockout, including Julio Ceja in Las Vegas last August. The knockout victory put him on the world map and earned him a shot at the WBC title.
Magsayo could continue an incredible run by Filipino fighters, who are steadily improving. Magsayo is having his fourth consecutive fight in the United and that’s another positive going for the +375 betting online underdog.
“I have a lot of pressure in my career right now,” Magsayo said. “A lot of people are speaking of the next Manny Pacquiao. I tell them, ‘There is no next Manny Pacquiao. There’s only one Manny Pacquiao.’
“I’m going to do my best to make a big name in the sport, do everything in the gym, work hard so my dream of becoming a world champion comes true.”
Magsayo’s not as long in betting markets as expected. We thought he would be paying around +600 and many expect him to go the distance.
The total rounds is set at 10½, and the over has firmed into -260. That’s giving Magsayo respect, so bettors shouldn’t overlook the challenger.
Russell Defends Title
We give Magsayo respect, but he’s facing one of the best featherweights in the world.
Russell has been out of the ring for almost two years, but he has had a good training camp and he’s looking to notch his 32nd career win.
Only one man has beaten the American and he turned out to be a superstar, so there is little reason to bet against the champion.
Bettors have to take -550, but those odds are better than expected. Take the value and watch Russell outwork his opponent for a decision victory.