Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo knows exactly what to do against Gary Russell Jr. on Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
After getting reconfigured by Freddie Roach, Magsayo insists that he is meeting Russell for the World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight crown hell-bent in doing one thing.
“I think I’m the fighter who wants to beat him more than anyone else has. I’m here to give him his second loss Saturday night,” Magsayo said during the press conference.
“I can fight and I can adjust. I have speed just like Gary does. On Saturday, we’ll put our skills up against each other.”
Russell has suffered just one defeat in 32 fights and it came against a topnotch opposition: Ukrainian master puncher Vasyl Lomachenko.
Magsayo, a 3-1 underdog, feels that the lessons learned at the Wild Card Boxing Club will be crucial in his bid to snatch the WBC 126-lb title.
“It’s great to have Freddie Roach and (assistant) Marvin Somodio helping me every day. I thought that I already knew boxing, but when I came to the gym they corrected my mistakes and made me a much more accurate puncher,” Magsayo said.
“Filipinos are born strong, we are warriors. I’m going to bring that attitude and that mentality into the fight.”
Last time he was in the ring, Magsayo picked himself up from a knockdown to knock Mexican Julio Ceja out in the tenth round at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I learned a lot from the Julio Ceja fight. I showed that I can adjust, that I can brawl and that I can box when I have to. That fight has helped me so much,” Magsayo said.
But Russell, who will be fighting for the first time in almost two years, believes his inactivity won’t affect him.
“There are no concerns about ring rust. I’m always in the gym. I haven’t taken two months off from training since I was about four or five. Boxing is not just what I do, it’s a lifestyle for me,” he said.
Magsayo is notorious for his crippling power, something Russell acknowledges is a big thing but nonetheless, not a game-changer.
“I believe in intellect over athleticism, no matter the situation,” he said.
And that line of thinking has one great admirer.
“Something tells me it’s going to be one-sided,” said ex-world welterweight champion and one-time Manny Pacquiao sparring partner Shawn Porter, noting Russell’s excellent ring generalship.
“I know how intelligent he is,” added Porter in his podcast.