"He's actually not the typical Russian fighter. He tends to box a little more and he's a little more fluid. His fundamentals are somewhat sound; he's somewhat sound, but I doubt very seriously that it will affect the outcome of the fight. At the end of the day, we will emerge victorious. We see things in his arsenal that we can pick apart in the fight. He is a shorter guy. He is a shorter guy that likes to throw a lot of wide shots that will make it easy for me. He's a pretty decent fighter, but overall, man, we ready and we gonna pick him apart," stated undefeated featherweight contender Gary Russell Jr., who talked about his upcoming clash with Vyacheslav Gusev. Check out what he had to say about the fight and much more.
PC: How are you doing, man?
GR: I'm doing wonderful, man; we out here grinding. Camp is going good. We been putting work in for about 6 and a half, almost 7 weeks. We ready, man.
PC: It's gotta be comforting to you to have such a family oriented corner. Does that play a factor in your fights?
GR: Most definitely! Most definitely, and the reason why is this, a coach is a fighter's last line of defense. You have to have the utmost faith in what your corner is telling you to go out and do, and then go out there and try to make it work. With a coach, they have to learn a person. With my coach being both my father and my trainer, I know that everything that he's telling me to do is in my best interest; that's outside of boxing and it definitely trends over into the boxing world. It's so much to the point where if he was to tell me to do something in the ring and it's not working, in my mind, it's not working based on the fact that I'm not doing it exactly the way he wants me to do it. So it definitely plays a big factor. I know that my father would never steer me wrong and never steer me in a direction where it would hurt me. I have that blind faith to what he tells me to do in the corner.
PC: We always talk about your amateur pedigree. I'm sure in the amateurs you have faced your fair share of Russians. On March 2nd, you are fighting Vyacheslav Gusev. When you watch footage of him, does he fit the mold of a typical Russian stylistically or does he bring something different to the table?
GR: He's actually not the typical Russian fighter. He tends to box a little more and he's a little more fluid. His fundamentals are somewhat sound; he's somewhat sound, but I doubt very seriously that it will affect the outcome of the fight. At the end of the day, we will emerge victorious. We see things in his arsenal that we can pick apart in the fight. He is a shorter guy. He is a shorter guy that likes to throw a lot of wide shots that will make it easy for me. He's a pretty decent fighter, but overall, man, we ready and we gonna pick him apart.
PC: You had one of the best knockouts of 2012 in your last fight. Do you put any pressure on yourself to one-up your last performance or do you just try to get better each and every time out?
GR: Not at all. I never try to one-up my last performance. My dad always tells me, "You're only as good as your last fight." We never try to one-up our last performance. I never look for a knockout. If it comes, it comes, but ultimately, we just go out there and try to execute the game plan. If we execute it perfectly in the fight, hopefully we will get a knockout, and if not, then we will get a unanimous decision.
PC: I usually speak to you before and after each fight, and before each fight, I ask what do you want to showcase or improve on. Last time, you said you wanted to show that you had power in both hands, and you did that. What are you looking to showcase in this fight?
GR: We gonna show all around boxing. I feel like I have been more of a boxer/puncher, walking these guys down and stalking them. We gonna make this guy come to us this fight. We not gonna walk him down. We gonna keep everything on the outside and keep our distance. We gonna show my versatility as a fighter.
PC: I spoke to Naazim Richardson not too long ago and one of the things he said was that once you decided to commit yourself to boxing 100% and leave the street stuff alone, it was a beautiful thing because you could see your talent level go up a notch. What caused you to fully commit and leave the other things alone? Was it because you saw that you could have a future in this sport?
GR: It's when I really stepped back and seen that I do have a talent. I was competing in these tournaments and I was winning. I overlooked the importance of the guys I was competing against. These were guys that were winning national tournaments before I even started competing in these tournaments. I was beating these guys easily, and it started getting close to the Olympic year and I was like, "I'm beating these guys that are supposed to be the best of the best here in the United States and I'm doing it so easy, why not try to make a run at the Olympics? Let me give it 100% of what I have." And of course I had a lot of family and friends that were supporting me and wanted to see me give it 100%, so we made that run.
PC: You have been making waves over at Showtime for years now. They recently signed Floyd Mayweather Jr. What is that like to be affiliated with a network that just brought over the biggest draw and one of the best fighters of this generation?
GR: It's definitely huge, man, and it's a privilege and a pleasure. The network has exactly what it takes as far as exposure. We are in the midst of so many people worldwide that will be watching the fights, man, and to get that exposure to show what it is that I bring to the table means a lot.
PC: When you look at how the Mikey Garcia and Orlando Salido a lot of people look at that as a torch passing fight. Juan Ma just got back into the win column. The 126-pound division is looking very promising. You said that 2013 is gonna be your year. Any of those names on the radar for you by the years end?
GR: I think the way the division is turning out, it's turning out perfectly for me. No one wants to be in a division where there isn't a lot of talent. Everyone wants to see the best go against the best. I honestly believe that I am head and shoulders better than these guys that hold the title and by the end of the year, we will take one from one of these guys who are champions right now. I don't take nothing away from them because they had to put the work in to get to that point, but they just holding on to it for me for now.
PC: Keeping it warm for you, huh?
GR: Yeah, that's it.
PC: How many times would you like to go this year?
GR: I want to get at least 3 in this year. We going with this one, and hopefully like I say, we never overlook anybody. We want to get through this bout, God willing, with no injuries and we receive the W. And if it's up to me, the bout after this, I will definitely be trying to get my hands on Juan Manuel Lopez. We want to do that one and from there, we will be trying to line up one of these guys with these belts for my third bout.
PC: I can't wait to see you perform on March 2nd on Showtime. I wish you the best of luck. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
GR: Man, it's always a pleasure. Always a pleasure you guys having me, and you guys can look for a good show and good performance on the 2nd.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]