Gary Russell Jr. wants Gervonta Davis to pick on someone his own size.
The WBC featherweight titleholder has not been shy about calling Davis a weight bully over the past year. In the latest instance of his antagonization, Russell took exception to Davis’ last fight, a 130-pound, pay-per-view contest against Leo Santa Cruz, a four-division titleholder who began his career at the bantamweight limit of 122-pounds. After a competitive few rounds, Davis lowered the boom on Santa Cruz with a hellacious uppercut in the sixth round, leaving the Mexican challenger out cold on the canvas for several minutes.
It was heralded as the Knockout of the Year and a star-making turn for Davis – not that Russell was much impressed.
“Leo [Santa Cruz] was a smaller guy that was beating Tank’s ass, if people want to be realistic about it,” Russell, a D.C. native, said on The Last Stand Podcast. “He was touching Tank. In my personal opinion, Leo won at least, to be fair, at least a clear 4 of the 6 rounds that I had seen. Clear. I’m talking about crystal clear. Tank was getting knots on his head and eyes and everything. Man, matchmakers.”
The Baltimore native Davis (24-0, 23 KOs), who has had trouble making weight in the past, has fluctuated between fighting at 130 and 135 pounds.
“Who cares [about Davis],” Russell continued. “He fought a Leo Santa who was originally a 122-pounder, realistically. Before that he moved up to 126 and he did his thing. He became a champion at 126. But [Davis] based his whole career fighting off of smaller people. Smaller guys, everybody he’s fought has been moving up in weight.”
Russell (31-1, 18 KOs) is hardly a big fighter himself, and should he face Davis in the future, he would also, like Santa Cruz, be at a size disadvantage. The difference, according to Russell, is that his skills would make up for the physical deficit.
“[The other fighters] don’t have the skillset or the intellect of mine,” Russell said.
When it was pointed out that Davis did not think Russell had a high enough profile to warrant a fight, Russell simply responded, “He sounds stupid as a motherf--ker.”
Russell fought once in 2020, before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, on February 2 in Allentown, Penn., winning a unanimous decision over Tugstsogt Nyambayar.