Gary Russell Jr. vs Mark Magsayo boxing predictions: Champion can force an early finish

Gary Russell Jr. (left)
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Henry Hardwicke

Boxing · 5 months ago

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Joined the Racing Post in 2006 having always been enthralled by sports and betting. Primarily focused on soccer, boxing and darts.

Gary Russell Jr defends his WBC world featherweight crown at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City on Saturday night (approx 11:00 pm ET, Showtime). 

Russell will be making the 6th defense of the belt he won in 2015. Mark Magsayo is the unbeaten, mandatory challenger and he is bidding to become only the second Filipino to be crowned WBC world featherweight champ.

Gary Russell Jr. vs Mark Magsayo odds

Russell Jr. is a hot favorite to keep the title and is -370 on the money line to win the fight with FanDuel Sportsbook. Magsayo is the +300 underdog to cause an upset, with the tie available at +2000. Russell is -135 to win by points or decision, and +310 to win by KO or TKO. Magsayo is +750 to win by points or decision, and+500 to win by KO or TKO.

Russell Jr. vs Magsayo big-fight analysis

It’s an interesting fight for sure. Russell Jr. has been beaten just once in a 32-fight career and that reversal came at the hands of the elite-level performer Vasyl Lomachenko. The Maryland man’s high punch output, speed and sharpness saw him stop Jhonny Gonzalez in 4 rounds when winning the WBC belt in 2015. 

Since then, the American fighter has gone on to make 5 successful defenses of the title, the latest against Tugstsogt Nyambayar in February 2020. However, that raises its own questions. There have been long periods of inactivity in Russell Jr.’s career and he has had just 5 fights since 2015. The Maryland man comes into this fight off a 23-month break and that time away from the ring can hardly be described as ideal.

At the age of 26, Magsayo is the younger and fresher fighter, but he has to prove he is up to this class. The Filipino will no doubt be hoping that time and inactivity will blunt Russell’s hand-speed and accuracy, but the favorite does have the experience of the big shows and a more illustrious record — he is 31-1 with 18 knockouts. 

Magsayo (23-0 with 16 wins by KO) brings the confidence of an unbeaten fighter to the ring and he can also hit hard. He will come to trade punches and he stopped Julio Ceja last time out. However, Magsayo was on the canvas himself in that bout and this is clearly a step up in class. Magsayo has a win over former world champ Panya Uthok on his record, but it was a vacant title that Uthok won and he failed to make a single successful defense of his crown.

Best bet: Russell Jr. to win by KO/TKO (+310)

Russell Jr. looks the most likely winner of this contest and it may be more comfortable than the odds suggest. Magsayo is almost certain to try to go on the front foot and that will leave him exposed to the speed and skill of the Maryland man. Take Russell Jr. to win Saturday’s showdown by stoppage at +310 odds.

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