"You have everything going on with the CEO Schaefer stepping away from Golden Boy, then you got Floyd saying he's not gonna fight on Golden Boy's side anymore, and there is talk of Bernard jumping ship, and then you got Bob Arum going over to Golden Boy and willing to negotiate with them on fights. It's adding ounces to the scoop. So I'm looking at it now, well damn, I guess they gonna try and say Al Haymon was behind everything...of course there is some concern because you got Golden Boy and you got Bob Arum negotiating not in good faith. This fight with Lomachenko and Gary, now that everything else is uncovered, I wonder, what they gonna try to do? Are they gonna try to get at Al through Gary with the politics through a judge or something like that," stated Gary Russell Sr., father and trainer of Gary Russell Jr., who talked about his concerns going into Saturday's title clash with Vasyl Lomachenko. Check it out!
PC: The big fight is this week. How has everything been with Gary?
GRS: Everything is going good with Gary; no major setbacks. Usually when we go through training camp without any type of injuries, something is wrong (laughing). He did hurt his finger one day about 2 weeks ago. I pulled him back from sparring. We go through these camps, we get little minor injuries that slow us up a little bit; same in this camp. Gary said it best, "If it wasn't an injury or something popping up during camp, it wouldn't be camp."
PC: He's good though, right?
GRS: Yeah, he overcame everything. He's good. Actually, there was a kid that sparred with our opponent, Lomachenko. He fought the other night. I think he's out of Philly.
PC: Tevin Farmer.
GRS: Right, Farmer. He sparred with Lomachenko and he didn't say it bluntly, but what he said was, "I felt good going into the fight because I worked with Lomachenko and he got me in shape," and woo woo woo, "I knew I was ready for this fight." What I took from that was, "I was able to do what I wanted when I sparred him." He was saying that his game was on. He felt confident in that. So one of our sparring partners here worked with the kid that fought the other night [Farmer] and was talking about how good the kid was. And then one of our sparring partners said, "He ain't all that, man. He ain't as fast as he thinks he is. He got good hand speed, but I did what I wanted to do with him. I hit him with left hands at will, two and three, and beat him down." The kids we got are fast and move real good, right, so when Gary hurt his finger, I held him from a lot of sparring because I wanted him to go through with this fight. It was a few days ago, I put him back in and he did like 10 rounds with his sparring partner and he did just defensive rounds; wouldn't throw a punch. These guys were trying to snatch his head off. He sitting in the pocket moving and making them miss, and then about the 3rd round, each guy, he started showing them what he could hit 'em with. I mean, he throwing 4 and 5 punch combinations and spinning off, and the guys were just amazed.
PC: Obviously Gary is represented as a Golden Boy fighter and Lomachenko is a Top Rank fighter. Does that mean anything to you guys or does that not matter?
GRS: It's funny because it puts us in a position with two different bodies. Of course it meant something to me because a lot of that depended on whether or not Gary would get the money fights, so it meant something. But I think even more so now because you have everything going on with the CEO Schaefer stepping away from Golden Boy, then you got Floyd saying he's not gonna fight on Golden Boy's side anymore, and there is talk of Bernard jumping ship, and then you got Bob Arum going over to Golden Boy and willing to negotiate with them on fights. It's adding ounces to the scoop. So I'm looking at it now, well damn, I guess they gonna try and say Al Haymon was behind everything.
GRS: You know where I'm going, right? I'm reading into the politics without trying to be into the politics, but you gotta know what's going on. The way I see it now, Bob and Golden Boy, who have had an estranged relationship, is willing to reconcile their differences so they can overtake my...my enemy of my enemy, so I can become friends with them so I can get my other enemy. So of course there is some concern because you got Golden Boy and you got Bob Arum negotiating not in good faith. This fight with Lomachenko and Gary, now that everything else is uncovered, I wonder, what they gonna try to do? Are they gonna try to get at Al through Gary with the politics through a judge or something like that? It makes me wonder on this level, man. Bob didn't want to deal with Golden Boy or Al, but now since Schaefer stepped out, of course they gonna say Al had something to do with it. Let's work together and get him. So now I wonder how Golden Boy gonna respond to Gary? I'm not saying this is gonna happen; I'm just saying it's a possibility of something that could happen. It's gonna be on TV and past all of the BS and politics, I tell Gary point blank, take it out their hands. I go back to Floyd and Canelo. It was a good draw and they made big money on that fight, but something stuck in my head that I couldn't understand. De La Hoya is the face of Golden Boy, probably the biggest fight in history financially, it was the biggest fight in history. I've been on drugs for months, maybe years before this fight, why am I gonna pick this time to check into a drug rehab during the week of the biggest fight in history and my name is attached to it? I made sense of it. One judge had that shit for Canelo. If the fight would have been close, I mean close where Floyd edged this round and Canelo edged this round and they kept doing that where they going tit for tat or that round looks even, that round may have been a draw or this round may decide the fight. If they did that, then they may have gave it to Canelo. And people would have said, "That's bull, man, Oscar, y'all ain't right." "I was in the drug rehab. I didn't have nothing to do with that." Think about it, man. It doesn't make sense. That table was already set. That judge that gave it to Canelo was already set and that tells me something else; during that time, he was with Al. Al and Schaefer and all was together, but he had such a dislike, he wanted the power ball to be in his court so much, he was like, bump Schaefer and bump Al and I'm gonna do this against them. This game is played differently on different levels. I'm from the streets, man, you know what I'm saying?
GRS: I'm from the streets and I done seen a lot of games. I done seen guys set dudes up, I done seen girls set dudes up, and I done seen police try to set traps. The game can move fast and slow. But being in the streets for so many years, you learn to see stuff, man. You don't need a PHD to understand BS.
PC: When I spoke to Gary, he praised you in saying the constant in all brothers winning the Golden Gloves was you as the trainer. That's a hell of a accomplishment to have all of your sons win the Golden Gloves and your family to get in the record books because of it.
GRS: It's a great accolade to have. My part is as a father, bar none; past this boxing stuff and all that. We had an open workout and I really got emotional and started crying during that because I think about Antonio, Antwan, Gary and Allen, I can speak about that, but there was a void, and the void was their brother that got killed who was a mixture of all of them. They are all trained by me, but they all have their own individual style. He by far had the best staple. He could run combinations going backwards. He could go through six and seven plus combinations. It was a thing of beauty. And I know for a fact going into this title fight, if my son was still alive, he would be somewhere in that equation. He would be fighting for a title, he would have gone to the Olympics with Gary, or he would have been the sixth brother to win that Golden Glove prestigious national title. A lot of people didn't understand why I got so emotional, but like I said, boxing is what they do. It's therapeutic in making them confident and learning how to walk in the road of a gladiator and not showing that they are gladiators. People just found out that Antwan boxed and the same thing with Tonio. If you just walked up on the kid, you wouldn't know that this is a Golden Glove National Champion. People not able to see them training and going to the gym and them coming home with trophies. But I feel good that they accomplished that, but it was kind of bitter sweet because we tied it last year and we broke it this year with Antwan. They basically robbed Antonio this year. They had the fight on YouTube and they took it off because the comments were, "How could you give the other kid the fight?" But the thing that hurt me is we are there with the President of the Association and it's a good ol' boy thing and it's turning into a good ol' boys tournament. The record was held by some Europeans or Caucasian brothers who held the record. We broke it and they said nothing about it. I made a vow; the only way I would go back to the Golden Gloves again at this point is if my 20 year old just wanted to absolutely go and win that Golden Gloves tournament. That's the only way I go back. I have a gym full of kids and they are talented. I have a 132, I have a 170 and a 201 that look very promising and they could win that thing, but next year, when we fighting the local and fighting the regional and they advance to the nationals, I will not be there. I will send another coach. I'm done with the Golden Gloves.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]