By Dan Ambrose: Devin Haney gloated last Saturday night after WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. lost to underdog Mark Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) by a 12 round majority decision at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Referring to the 26-year-old Magsayo as a “BUM,” WBC lightweight champion Haney threw fuel on the fire in rubbing it in about Russell Jr’s loss to his mandatory challenger from the Philippines.
The unbeaten Haney and Russell Jr. have had words in the past, which led to this reaction from the WBC 135-lb champion.
Russell Jr fought with an injured shoulder
In fairness to the 33-year-old Russell Jr, he was coming off a two-year layoff, and his right shoulder injury limited his effectiveness from the fourth round on.
Russell Jr. was forced to fight using mainly his left hand for his offense, and that wasn’t going to be enough to turn back the threat from the young undefeated Magsayo.
The scores were: 115-113, 115-113, and 114-114.
Mr. cap aka Gary Russell lost to a bum 😭
— Devin Haney (@Realdevinhaney) January 23, 2022
You can bet that when Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) eventually loses at some point in his career, Russell Jr. might choose to take a shot at him as well.
In April, Haney could face undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. in a large stadium fight in Australia.
Freddie Roach reacts to Magsayo’s win
“I told him in the last three rounds.’You got three rounds to take this fight right now. The fight is about even. Let’s take these last three rounds and outscore this guy and win this fight,’” said trainer Freddie Roach to the media in discussing what he told his fighter Magsayo going into the championship rounds last Saturday night against Russell.
“I said, ‘You know you’re better than him,’ and then he went out there and did it,” Roach continued about Magsayo. “The bodywork was really important [for Magsayo]. I wish it would have stayed there a little bit more,” said Roach.
The difference in the fight was Magsayo’s late surge in rounds 10, 11, and 12, outworking Russell Jr. in that crucial point of the contest. If not for Magsayo putting in the work in the championship rounds, he would have lost.
“I think it was more effective than the headshots, but it’s hard to get fighters to make adjustments sometimes [when they fail to follow instructions],” said Roach.
“We heard he was a little sick going into the fight,” said Roach about Russell Jr. “I didn’t hear anything about a broken arm or anything like that. I heard he had diarrhea. I said, ‘Let’s hit the body.’ I think it did affect him a little bit, but I wish he would have went there a little bit more.
“I thought he [Magsayo] was getting a little tired in the end, but I told my fighter, ‘Let’s go out there and take care of these three rounds. We need these three rounds to win this fight.’It was a close fight up to that point.
“It’s difficult [to get a fighter to follow a game plan], but we get along pretty well,” Roach said of the problems he had in getting Magsayo to follow the game plan.
“In his last fight when he knocked his opponent [Julio Ceja] down in the first round, and then he lost nine rounds in a row.
“I slapped him in the face and said, ‘Get out there and show this guy you’re a real fighter.’ I was really close to doing that in this fight, but I told him to go out and win these last three rounds, take these points and take these three rounds, and we’ll walk away the winner.”
Roach didn’t think Russell Jr was injured
“I didn’t see him [Russell Jr] hurt with his arm, I didn’t see him stop throwing punches,” said Roach about him not seeing that Russell was injured.
“He was just moving side to side a lot, and he wasn’t throwing a lot of punches the whole fight. He was really lazy, and he didn’t go aggressive as I’ve seen him on tape before,” Roach said of Russell Jr.
“Usually, he’s very mean, very rugged and goes in there with both hands and keeps throwing until the fights over. In this fight, he was starting to fade a little quicker than usual, and towards the end, that’s when we took over.
“Our plan was to have three fights together and win the world title in the last one, and we did it,” said Roach of Magsayo.
Surprisingly, Roach couldn’t spot that Russell Jr was fighting with an injured right arm because it was apparent to everyone watching the fight.
If Roach wasn’t being disingenuous about his comments on not seeing the injury, it’s got to worry you. How could Roach not see that Russell was injured?