Featherweight contender Gary Russell Jr. put on a boxing clinic against veteran Chris Martin tonight and scored an easy unanimous decision. Two judges scored the bout 100-90 and one somehow found a round for Martin and turned in a card with a 99-91 result. Russell out landed Martin by a 293-67 margin. It didn’t feel that close.
Russell Jr.’s fight with Martin was not originally supposed to be televised until Anthony Peterson’s camp suddenly replaced his opponent, Yakubu Amidu with the 39-year-old veteran, Hector Velazquez, just three days before fight night. Showtime then bumped the Peterson fight off camera and replaced it with the Russell/Martin bout.
Russell Jr. (24-1, 14 KOs) took to the ring for the first time since losing a majority decision against Vasily Lomachenko for the vacant WBO Featherweight title, in a fight most viewers thought was not nearly as close as at least one judge found it. Russell was looking to get back on track after his first loss in 25 fights by taking on Christopher Martin (28-4-3, 9 KOs), a loser of two of his last three fights, including a 6th round KO Miguel Marriaga on October 1st.
On to the rounds:
Round One: Russell’s pressing the action and his fast as ever hands are already giving Martin problems. Russell digs to the body with fervor. Martin’s few punching attempts appear to be in slow motion compared to Russell’s. Russell’s hand speed and accuracy are making it nearly impossible for Martin to get off. The difference in quickness is almost alarming. Russell finishes the round by out landing Martin by a 20-1 margin.
Round Two: Martin is so slow that it would appear his only chance is to try to mug Russell. To do that, he’d have to be able to get close to him. Something Russell is just not allowing. Martin continues to lope around the ring and Russell just keeps hitting him. Russell doing some great work to the body.
Round Three: Russell bullies Martin into the corner. It seems like he could go for it almost anytime he wants to. This round looks a whole lot like the first two. Russell boxing beautifully and pretty much doing whatever he wants. Martin heads to his corner shaking his head. I can’t say that I blame him.
Round Four: Russell lands a combo that backs Martin up. Maybe Russell just wants to get work in. He’s landing 6-10 punches at a time with nothing coming back. Total mismatch. Martin gets Russell into the corner and lands a solid left to the body. Russell spins out and hits Martin with 5-6 consecutive blows. Martin lands another decent body shot, but can’t get close enough to build upon it.
Round Five: Martin finds himself against the ropes again and takes a number of hard shots to the body along with a couple upstairs. Russell is both patient and surgical. Russell lands a shot to the body and steps on Martin’s foot, causing him to lose balance and his glove touches the canvas. Referee, Jack Reiss, rightly calls it a slip. Maybe that’s Martin’s best chance. To hope that Russell knocks himself off balance by hitting Martin so often. Through 5 rounds, Russell has landed 124 shots to Martin’s 27. Yeah, you read that right.
Round Six: Martin gets Russell in the corner and takes a beating for it as Russell just lands at will. Martin has nowhere to go. Whether it’s the ropes, the middle of the ring, from distance, or in tight, he’s just being thoroughly outclassed. Russell is now taunting Martin. All but begging to come into the corner and get him. Russell has a nice up jab.
Round Seven: Russell moves Martin into the corner, lands several combinations. Martin’s glove nearly touches the canvas, but he’s more off balance than hurt. Russell is increasing his output as he goes along. A lot of these punches are not being thrown with great force. Russell is playing with him at this point. Russell lands a hard shot to the body. Their heads clash and Reiss pauses the fight and rules correctly an accidental head butt. Russell got the worst of it—which is the first time you could say that in this fight on any level—but is not bloodied.
Round Eight: Russell digs a right to the body that stops Martin in his tracks. Martin just can’t let his hands go due to Russell’s always being in his face and body. Russell seems very comfortable. Perhaps too comfortable. Not that there’s any risk to him in the fight, but it would be great to see what he could do if he could floor it. At least it would be more entertaining. Russell goes upstairs and down. Martin seems to be slowing down. Which is no small statement considering how inactive he’s been overall.
Round Nine: Russell opens the round with 15-20 punches before Martin responds with a looping left that was practically depressing to see. Russell seems comfortable to land at will, but he’s not putting his weight behind that many of his punches. I’ll say this, his stamina is pretty impressive. He’s as busy and nearly as quick now as he was in the early rounds. Russell’s corner asks him how his left hand feels. If Russell is pulling his punches, a hand injury would explain that. Still, Russell threw 134 punches in the 9th.
Round Ten: Every round looks the same. Russell is doing whatever he wants. You do find yourself wishing he wanted more. This is just too easy. Anything less than a shutout on all the scorecards is nearly unfathomable.
Russell built up his 24-0 record against subpar competition. The first time he truly stepped up in class was in his title bout against Lomachenko. He did not fare well. I’m not sure what tonight’s bout tells us other than Russell is a supremely physically talented featherweight who simply hasn’t fought many rounds against high class opponents. Russell wants his next fight to be for a belt. I’m not certain he’s going to get it until he gets in the ring with an opponent who asks something more from him.