Cody Crowley, Garcia-Benavidez & The PBC Top Five

THU, JAN 01, 1970

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Coming off successive impressive victories, the undefeated welterweight is flying high and has his sights set on a world title shot.

Undefeated welterweight contender Cody "The Crippler" Crowley joins The PBC Podcast this week to discuss his April win over Josesito Lopez, his thoughts on Errol Spence-Terence Crawford and a potential bout versus Eimantas Stanionis.

Plus, hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal recap last week's PBC on SHOWTIME card, featuring Danny Garcia's big win over Jose Benavidez Jr. and, in this week's Toe to Toe segment, list the PBC Top Five Pound for Pound Fighters, based on a poll of 22 boxing insiders. 

For a closer look at Cody Crowley, check out his fighter page. 

The PBC Podcast is a weekly boxing show featuring timely analysis and interviews with the sport’s biggest figures. The show is published every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spreaker and other outlets. Alternatively, listeners can find The PBC Podcast on the PBC website at www.premierboxingchampions.com/podcast.

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The two-division world champion looks as good as ever in his 154-pound debut as he outpoints a game Jose Benavidez Jr. Saturday night atop a Premier Boxing Champions tripleheader on SHOWTIME.

Danny Garcia took a 19-month, 26-day layoff from the ring. It didn’t show Saturday night in his super welterweight debut against Jose Benavidez Jr

In fact, “Swift” looked as good as ever in his ninth appearance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.  

The counter punching, the body work, the quick head movement and combination punches were all on display as Garcia made a point with a brilliant, 12-round majority decision over Benavidez atop a SHOWTIME tripleheader in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The 34-year-old Garcia (37-3, 21 KOs) won on the scorecards of judges Glenn Feldman (116-112) and Tony Paolillo (117-111) overruling Waleska Roldan’s 114-114 score.

“I did take a break, I was going through some mental things, I felt a little dark,” Garcia revealed, before being overcome by pangs of emotion. “I went through some anxiety and depression and I tried to do my best to stay strong.

“I think it was the pressure of life, the pressure of boxing, being a good dad. I’m letting it out right now, because I kept inside for a year-in-and-a-half. I still battle some days. I have some dark days, but I feel good now.”

Garcia hadn’t fought since losing a unanimous decision to undefeated, unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in December 2020. Against Benavidez, he boxed smartly from the opening bell and never relinquished control. 

In the third round, Benavidez – who appeared to have a significant size advantage over the two-division champion – came alive with a right that caught Garcia on the side of his head.

By the fourth, Garcia had already landed 29 body shots. Benavidez simply could not catch him as Garcia worked the double jab to the head and body and followed up with combinations. 

With one minute remaining in the fifth, Benavidez clipped Garcia twice, though that came after Garcia had pelted him with numerous shots, again working up and down. 

“In order for me to be Danny Garcia, I had to be back in the ring and do what I love, to be a fighter,” Garcia said. “People ask me every day, you make good money boxing, why do you still fight? I feel like I’m a fighter, this is what I love to do.”

It showed. In the sixth, Garcia initiated the action with double jabs, controlling the pace and the distance. Benavidez’s frustration appeared to be growing. The onslaught continued in the seventh as the Philadelphia native slammed two straight rights into Benavidez’s face. 

By the 10th, it seemed Benavidez needed a knockout. He tried going after Garcia, and in the final minute of the round, he lifted both in hands in frustration as Garcia stayed in the boxing mode. With :13 left, Garcia showboated a little for the crowd, swirling his right hand around as the final seconds ticked away. He shined in the last two rounds, unloading combinations to the delight of the Brooklyn crowd. The two fighters embraced at fight’s end.

“I’m happy with my performance, I thought I did a good job,” Benavidez said. “I’m fighting one of the best of the best. I took his punches. You see it didn’t hurt me. I honestly thought that I had won, but it is what it is. I’m not going to let this bring me down. A loss just makes you stronger.”

Indeed—and Garcia is proof of that.

Ali Eren Demirezen wins sixth straight with unanimous decision over Adam Kownacki

Adam Kownacki was coming off a pair of losses to Robert Helenius and looking to reclaim his place among the heavyweights to watch. Eren Demirezen was riding a five-fight winning streak. Both fighters kept their streaks going albeit in opposite directions.

Demirezen won his sixth straight with a 10-round unanimous decision over Kownacki in a fun back and forth.

It was the biggest victory in the career of Demirezen (17-1, 12 KOs) and he did it on enemy territory as the popular Polish-born Kownacki lives and fights out of Brooklyn. 

“I overcame adversity,” Demirezen said. “We were both equally aggressive. I promised everyone a win, and that’s what the people got. I beat him in his hometown. “I want to be an inspiration and a role model for Turkish youngsters that were watching tonight. I hope I made them proud.

“I was nervous because he’s a strong fighter and I could be much better but it’s my first time here and he’d fought here before.”

Suffering his third-straight loss, Kownacki (20-3, 15 KOs) had said before the fight, “If I don’t win this fight, I lose it all.”

“I’m a bit rusty, I think he was getting off first in the exchanges, I didn’t’ sit down as much, I think the rust played a part, being out so long,” Kownacki said. “I was out of the ring since last October, camp was good but I don’t know, I was letting him get off first, I wasn’t moving my feet, I went back to the old me instead of the first few rounds when I was doing good.”

Kownacki started well, working a high-volume attack behind a consistent jab. Gradually, Demirezen began coming on in the fourth and fifth rounds. The 2016 Turkish Olympian unveiled his own jab and began backing Kownacki up. As the sixth round neared an end, Demirezen landed a big right on Kownacki left eye, which began swelling. By the ninth, it was nearly shut and bleeding, courtesy of Demirezen’s nonstop attack.  

With the fight slipping away, Kownacki went after Demirezen, trying to close strong. Yet in the final minute of the fight, it was Demirezen landing solid rights, a constant throughout the fight.

“I have two kids, I’ll have a long talk with my wife to see what I want to do,” said a contemplative Kownacki. “I’ve had so many fights here, so many great memories, I don’t want to go out like a loser. I would like another fight to leave my fans with a win.”

Gary Antuanne Russell gets a great boost stopping Rances Barthelemy

Two-division world champion and smooth-boxing Cuban Rances Barthelemy was bound to pose problems for unbeaten rising super lightweight contender Gary Antuanne Russell. Further, Russell was fighting for the first time as a pro without his father, esteemed, late trainer Gary Russell Sr., who died in May after years of battling health issues. 

For five rounds, Gary Antuanne had his struggles.

Then, with one punch, Russell ended it at :50 of the sixth round in a controversial finish.

Russell (16-0, 16 KOs) kept his knockout streak intact, while Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs) also gained with what was a fine performance.

“First and foremost, I want to thank God, I want to tell my father up above I did it for him, we’re going to keep it going for pops, I want to thank Showtime for letting me participate,” Russell said. “I know Rances was a high-grade class athlete and he wanted to continue. Emotions were high. Whether we or bruised or beaten, as a warrior, you always want to continue but the referee was doing their job and if he was allowed to continue it would have been the same outcome. I would have gotten him.”

Barthelemy, obviously, felt otherwise.

“No, they shouldn’t have stopped it,” he said. “I felt good, it was good shot, I’m not denying that, but they shouldn’t have stopped it. I got up and told him I’m fine and I’m good to go Of course I want the rematch, but with a different referee.”

Barthelemy, more noted as a boxer who uses his legs, stood and exchanged with Russell at the outset. It was a complete change from his past. With :47 left in the first round, Barthelemy landed a right on the jaw that stunned Russell.

Working from the southpaw stance, Barthelemy began doing damage with lefts. As the fourth round ended, he banged Russell with another strong left. The southpaw stance, which Russell never faced before as a pro, seemed to create some openings in Russell’s defense.

But as the fifth transpired, Russell found the range for the right hook—and precursor for what was to come.

Everything changed early in the sixth when Russell leaped in with a vicious right hook that landed on Barthelemy’s temple. The Cuban immediately lost control of his legs, tumbling to the canvas for the third time in his career. Referee Shada Murdaugh opted to end it at :50 of the sixth round although Barthelemy indicated to him that he was ready to fight. 

“In the sixth round I had him backing up, I knew he was looking for his right cross,” Russell said. “I caught him backing up and I shot my hook and put him down, he was buzzed but he wanted to keep going. He’s a warrior.”

Both men were. Russell will have learned plenty from this encounter and Barthelemy showed he still has much to offer the sport. 

The undercard

Super middleweight Junior Younan (17-0-1, 11 KOs) stopped Dauren Yeleussinov (10-2-1, 9 KOs) at 1:47 of the first round, super featherweights Ricky Lopez (21-5-2, 6 KOs) and Joe Perez (16-6-4, 10 KOs) fought to a six-round majority draw and super welterweight Vito Mielnicki, Jr. (12-1, 8 KOs) beat Jimmy Williams (18-9-2, 6 KOs) on a corner stoppage at 2:12 in the seventh round of a scheduled eight-rounder.

Middleweight Sergiy Derevyanchenko (14-4, 10 KOs) got back on the winning side with a 10-round unanimous middleweight decision over Joshua Conley (17-4-1, 11 KOs) on the undercard, and junior middleweight Dwyke Flemmings, Jr. (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Angelo Thompson (0-4) at 2:32 of the second round of a scheduled four-rounder.

Junior featherweight Miguel Roman (2-0) ruined the pro debut of Marcus Redd with a four-round unanimous decision, and super welterweight Ismael Villarreal (12-0, 8 KOs) opened the night by stopping the previously undefeated LeShawn Rodriguez (13-1, 10 KOs) at :26 of the sixth round.

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A detailed breakdown of Saturday night's high stakes clash as two-division champ Danny Garcia makes his 154-pound debut against the dangerous Jose Benavidez Jr. in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME.

On Saturday, July 30, live on SHOWTIME, in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, former two-division world champion Danny Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) makes his super welterweight debut against the dangerous and highly regarded Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-1-1, 18 KOs) in a 12-round showdown.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) will also see Polish star, Brooklyn’s Adam Kownacki returning to the ring against Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen in a 10-round heavyweight scrap. To kick off the telecast, undefeated rising sensation Gary Antuanne Russell battles former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy in a 10-round super lightweight contest.

The Story

Danny Garcia has established a reputation for excellence over the course of his 15-year professional career.

High-water mark victories over Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Paulie Malignaggi, and Robert Guerrero have showcased the proud Philadelphia native’s elite-level skills. His close, competitive losses to Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Errol Spence Jr. did the same. 

Even so, the decision loss to Spence in his last fight seemed to hit hard. The long layoff following the setback painted the picture of an elite-level fighter who had, maybe, reached the end of the line.

More than a year-and-a-half later, though, a 34-year-old Garcia says he has rediscovered his love for the sport and his enthusiasm for training. He’s now setting out to make his mark in the competitive super welterweight division. 

Jose Benavidez Jr. was a child prodigy who by the time he reached his late teens, was already a sparring partner for the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Amir Khan, and Timothy Bradley. The youngest National Golden Gloves champion ever at 16, he went on to become the youngest fighter ever licensed to fight in Nevada at 17. 

His “can’t miss” status took a hit in August of 2016, however, when he was shot by an unknown assailant near his Phoenix home. The attack left him with a severed main artery above his right knee and an injury that doctors felt would end his boxing career at the young age of 24.

Benavidez, though, would return to the ring just about eighteen months later and score two stoppage victories before getting stopped, himself, in the twelfth round by defending WBO Welterweight World Champ Terence Crawford. 

After a three-year layoff, the older brother of two-time super middleweight champ David Benavidez returned to the ring in November of 2021, settling for a frustrating draw with Argentina’s Francisco Torres in front of a raucous hometown Phoenix crowd. 

Back and ready to make a run in the 154-pound division, the 30-year-old views a victory over Garcia as the gateway to bigger things. 

The Stakes

Both Garcia and Benavidez will be looking to make waves in their super welterweight debuts with the ultimate goal being, of course, a world title shot. 

The Matchup

Garcia is an extremely well-schooled and disciplined fighter who possesses a superb all-around skill set. He does just about everything well, employing great balance and quick hands to go along with a high ring IQ. His quick, jarring left hand, a punch that still ranks among the pound-for-pound best offensive weapons in the sport, is facilitated by a superb sense of timing. Far from a one-weapon fighter, he also carries significant pop in his right hand. 

A clinical counter-puncher by nature, Garcia can sometimes be too analytical, allowing opponents to steal rounds while he patiently waits on openings and opportunities.

I just want to go in there and give the fans a great show. Former Two-Time World Champion - Danny Garcia

Benavidez is tall and lanky at nearly 5-foot-11 and utilizes a stiff jab that sets up a rocket-like right hand. Although he fights with a fearless bravado, he’s actually a very adept counter-puncher. He gets good leverage on mostly everything he throws and can bang to the head and body with equal effect. 

At his ideal best, Benavidez stalks opposition from a smart distance, searching for openings and looking to cause damage.  

Defensively, his best friend is the distance he keeps and maintains with his jab. However, he’s solid at picking off punches with his gloves and sometimes employs a peek-a-boo defense for extra protection. 

The Words

Danny Garcia

“Benavidez is a tough fighter. He has some skills. Obviously, he’s 27-1-1 and he’s fought some good fighters. I expect the best of him. I want to knock him out, but if the knockout doesn’t come, then we’re ready for 12 rounds. I just want to go in there and give the fans a great show.”

Jose Benavidez Jr.

“A win over Danny Garcia is a big step for me. We’ve both lost before and I think that’s made us stronger fighters. We’ve learned from our mistakes. We’re going to be throwing bombs all night long. Stay tuned, because this is going to be Fight of the Year, I guarantee that.”

The Breakdown

Garcia will come into Saturday’s bout with the edge in main stage experience and level of opposition, but Benavidez is a true natural and not easily intimidated. 

The smart money is on both boxers fighting true to their respective styles and temperaments, with Garcia sitting back and analyzing for opportunities while Benavidez stalks and picks for openings. 

For Benavidez to have the best chance at victory, he’ll probably have to be the one to step out of his comfort zone and force the fight. This, though, also plays into Garcia’s hands as the more comfortable and accomplished counter-puncher. Benavidez’s three-inch reach advantage and ability to fight from the outside could give him a tactical edge, in theory, but Garcia has seen it all and done it all. 

Garcia and Benavidez will be coming into Saturday night’s contest with extreme pressure weighing on them. In a lot of ways, this will be a “last chance” for both. There will need to be some extra fire and urgency in this bout between two usually cool and patient boxer-punchers. Garcia needs a big win to create career momentum and establish himself in this new division. Benavidez, meanwhile, desperately needs a big win to get an oft sidetracked career back on track at the age of 30. 

In this compelling battle of 154-pound newcomers, expect technical class, tactical intrigue, and a “must win” vibe pushing both fighters.

For a closer look at Garcia vs. Benavidez, check out our fight night page. 

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A look back at the history of Puerto Rican boxing in the Big Apple as the great Danny Garcia faces Jose Benavidez Jr. Saturday night in a PBC event on SHOWTIME live from (where else?) the Barclays Center.

This Saturday, July 30, two-division world champion and undisputed King of Brooklyn Boxing, Danny “Swift” Garcia, faces former interim world champion Jose Benavidez Jr. in a crossroads 154-pound bout from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

Though the Barclays is the home of the Brooklyn Nets, Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) has been the venue’s most consistent star. The Nets’ biggest names - Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant – have asked to be traded and the original star, the one whose picture lit up Flatbush Avenue at night, Deron Williams, ended up being bought out of his contract after only a handful of seasons. 

Garcia, a proud Philadelphia native who headlined the first ever boxing card at the arena, has stuck around. And if local pressure resumes to rename the arena after the Brooklyn Dodger’s second baseman Jackie Robinson, rather than the Barclays, we can call Garcia “The Ace of Flatbush Avenue.” 

Garcia has a tough out in Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KOs). Entering the ring after the longest layoff of his career and fighting in a new division, Garcia was also recovering from a series of personal issues which left him, according to his father and trainer, Angel Garcia, mentally drained. In a virtual press conference with the media, Angel said, “Danny wasn’t all there mentally. He wasn’t crazy, just going through a lot and sometimes athletes suffer mentally, and no one notices.” 

Not many have noticed that Garcia, who says he is 100 percent ready now, has become one of the most prolific headliners in New York’s history. When he enters the ring against Benavidez, he will become tied with Carlos Ortiz for second most main events in a major New York City venue by a Puerto Rican. 

It wasn’t that long ago when fighters used to dream about headlining at Madison Square Garden. The first Puerto Rican to do so was Sixto Escobar, a bantamweight with arms the width of sugar cane stalks that hurt just as much when he struck you with them. Sixto was considered a mini-Joe Louis and was considered one of the better punchers in the games by those whose memories have long faded. 

The next big Boricua star was Pedro Montanez, who arrived in New York after leaving European lightweights with broken jaws and their promoters in France and Italy with expensive hospital bills. The Spanish press called him “The Devil” and when he left for New York, a reporter in Spain wrote a “good riddance” piece and personally went to the dock to make sure the terror from Cayey boarded the ship for New York. 

When Montanez arrived and settled into an apartment across the street from Central Park, he quickly joined “Two Ton” Tony Galento as the biggest attractions at New York’s 5,000-seat Hippodrome. When he crossed over into the main venues, the ones with capacities over 10,000, he did so against the likes of Henry Armstrong and Lou Ambers a total of seven times. 

Who would have guessed that the next great Puerto Rican star to conquer the Big Apple would be a kid from the Juniata section of Philly?

By the time Carlos Ortiz had become the main Puerto Rican attraction in the city, promoters were leery of the Nuyorican crowds. One can almost conduct a sociological study of the Puerto Rican experience in New York by looking at the crowds that attended boxing matches. From the fedora-wearing crowds of the 1930s, to the leather clad activist types of the 1960s, the crowds reflected what was going on only a few subway stops away.   

New York in the 1960s was a place rife with blatant racism. The city’s sanitation workers neglected El Barrio and only occasionally picked up trash in the area. Garbage heaps spilled into the streets and rat and roach populations multiplied. Residents organized and began to pile the trash in the middle of the streets, setting it ablaze, and blocking the streets that sanitation officials used to commute to home. The city started picking up the trash after that. 

That militant nature spilled over to the boxing fans, many of whom protested loudly whenever a Puerto Rican fighter got the shaft from so-called subjective judges. Flags were waved and congas were beat and, whenever the judges got it wrong, bottles were thrown. One night, The Garden’s piano was pushed off the stage one night. After a couple of “demonstrations,” the bad judging – like the trash – went away. 

Wilfred Benitez and Hector Camacho were next, both headlining frequently at the smaller Felt Forum. Benitez topped the bill upstairs in the big room six times; Camacho did so twice. While both were popular with the crowds, neither boxer excited them like a knockout puncher does. Edwin Rosario headlined often at the Felt Forum, mostly against soft touches looking for soft landing spots on the canvas. The crowds cheered for Rosario—just not as loudly as they did for Felix “Tito” Trinidad. 

Trinidad, who walked the streets of the city without security and shook every hand he saw, attracted fans with conga drums and trumpets that they nagged and blared between rounds, cascading the marijuana-filled arena during each of the six times Trinidad headlined. Young, flashy and fly fans could be found up and down the line outside, waiting to get in and looking for anyone willing to bet $1000 against Trinidad. 

Trinidad set a high bar, but it was one met by Miguel Cotto, the all-time leader of main events in New York among Puerto Rican boxers. The soft-spoken Cotto headlined twelve times in total at either The Garden, Barclays and Yankee Stadium. Once again, this wasn’t your ordinary boxing crowd. Yes, it was still predominately Puerto Rican, but with more hip-hop and reggeaton vibes. Not to mention the baby strollers in the aisles.   

When Garcia answers the bell for his fight against Benavidez, it will be his ninth appearance in one of the city’s main arenas. Who would have guessed that the next great Puerto Rican star to conquer the Big Apple would be a kid from the Juniata section of Philly, one who grew up playing ice hockey and baseball and spent many of those years without a father? Against all odds, Garcia became one of the most popular attractions New York City has ever seen. On Saturday night, he returns to the city that made him famous for the latest episode of the boxing novela we call “The Danny Garcia” show.

For a closer look at Danny Garcia, check out his fighter page. 

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The undefeated super lightweight takes on the toughest challenge of his pro career when he faces two-time champ Rances Barthelemy Saturday night on PBC on SHOWTIME and he does so without his father and trainer, Gary Russell Sr.

Gary Antuanne Russell finds it cathartic to laugh. It relieves tension. It eases pain. The 26-year-old super lightweight misses that yelling long face, who would perch his chubby chin up on his folded forearms on the rim of the ring and bark instructions he felt his son was ignoring. 

It became almost a daily ritual: Gary Russell Sr. would yell at Gary Antuanne, “You’re not throwing your combinations right! Damn it! You might as well teach your own damn self! What am I here for? I’m leaving; I’m not watching any more of this sparring!” 

And as if on cue, Gary Sr. would charge toward the glass double doors of the Enigma Boxing Gym, in Capitol Heights, Maryland, screaming in his gravelly voice over his back feigning disgust.

Gary Antuanne would continue sparring. A few minutes later, invariably, Gary Sr. would poke his head back through the doors, a puff of cigarette smoke following him. Before long, Gary Antuanne, without changing a thing, would hear his father sneak back into the gym, shouting as he neared, “That’s what I’m talking about!”

“I still hear his voice and miss that every day,” Gary Antuanne said, choking back the emotional twinge in his voice.

On Saturday, Russell (15-0, 15 KOs) takes on former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy (29-1-1, 15 KOs) in a 10-round super lightweight showdown to kick off the SHOWTIME tripleheader (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The fight holds great professional and personal significance for Gary Antuanne, a 2016 U.S. Olympian at the Rio Games. Professionally, this will be Gary Antuanne’s toughest task to date. Personally, and of far deeper importance, it will be the first time Gary Antuanne will be fighting as a pro without his father, the esteemed, beloved trainer Gary Russell Sr., the patriarch of the Russell family who died on Monday, May 23 at the age of 63 after years of struggle with Type 2 diabetes and several minor strokes.

“This hasn’t been easy,” admitted Gary Antuanne, who is being trained by his brothers, Gary Russell Jr. and Gary Allen Russell. “Even as an amateur, I would always let my dad know what was going on with an iPad. This is going to be emotional when I walk out there Saturday night, knowing my dad won’t be there. I’ll hear his voice saying, ‘You’re chosen! You’re unique! You’re built for this!’ The Russell style is no style. We don’t define our style. It’s what our dad taught us. It’s up to me and my brothers to continue that Russell tradition.

“But I need this fight. This is an important first step for me. You never get over a death. But you can move forward from it, and that’s what this fight means for me. It’s what my dad would want me to do. I have to do it for him and for my brother, Gary Boosa Russell (who died in December 2020 of cardiac arrest).”

My dad directed us on a path... We have to take the Russell torch and keep it going. Undefeated Super Lightweight Contender - Gary Antuanne Russell

Gary Antuanne said this has been a difficult training camp, filled with starts and stops. He would get going and then something would remind him of his father. He would get struck with a pang of emotion and stop. He would go someplace to gather himself again, wipe the tears away and start over.

He wants to get back to a routine.

He’s tried submerging himself in road work, hitting the speed bag, sparring, though no matter how much he plunges himself into training, no one will replace his father.

If you listen close enough, you can hear Gary Sr. through Gary Antuanne.

“No one could push me and critique me the way my father did, and that’s the toughest part,” Gary Antuanne said. “I’m fortunate, really, really fortunate to be working with my brothers. I know my brothers will push me and they have high ring IQs. They have great eyes to see what’s going on. My father always questioned me. He had the eyes of a coach. We’re getting through this.

“I’ll say this, Barthelemy has no idea what’s coming at him on Saturday night. I know he’s crafty and the Cubans have that slick style. He’s never faced anyone like me before, and the kind of energy I’ll bring into the ring. He can try to simulate me as much as he can, but he doesn’t know what kind of style I have, because I have no style. I do know that I’m going to need to overcome my emotions that night.”

It does take great strength for Gary Antuanne to openly speak about his father and the rage of emotions he’s still dealing with two months after his father’s death.

What helps is to laugh.

What’s aided him is the memory of how his father would go crazy on him during training camp.

“My father would not want any of us crying over him,” Gary Antuanne stressed. “It helps thinking back at all of the times he would go yelling and screaming when I would spar, yelling about teaching ourselves, and all the times he would walk out the front door and poke his head back in so he would see the rest of our sparring. I still laugh every time I think about my dad cursing at us, like we didn’t see him peeking at us through the door. I wouldn’t change a damn thing, and my dad would still yell at us, ‘That’s what I’m talking about!’

“My brothers are on me like my father was. If they’re not yelling and screaming at me, I know something is wrong. My father prepared us for everything, and his goal was to keep us humble and honest. I think I deserve a title shot. My goal is to fight two more times before the end of the year. This is a big step Saturday night. I want to transform into something greater. I’m obligated to do that. My dad directed us on a path. It’s up to me and my brothers. We have to take the Russell torch and keep it going.”

For a closer look at Gary Antuanne Russell, check out his fighter page. 

SUNDAY: Ruiz vs Ortiz

TONIGHT: Garcia vs Benavidez

TOMORROW: Garcia vs Benavidez

Garcia vs. Benavidez Fight Week

THU, JAN 01, 1970

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