by Tim Harrison
Showtime closes out an up-and-down 2014 with a quadruple header on Showtime Extreme. Jesus Cuellar (25-1, 9 KOs) takes on Ruben Tamayo (24-4-4, 17 KOs) in the main event, while Gary Russell Jr. (24-1, 14 KOs) faces off against Chris Martin (28-4-3, 9 KOs) serve as the co-feature. Cuellar’s Interim WBA featherweight belt will be on the line. The card will also feature top prospect Julian Williams (17-0-1, 10 KOs) taking on late replacement Jamar Freeman (13-3-2, 7 KOs). And in the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated Julius Jackson Jackson (18-0, 14 KOs) will battle once-beaten Jonathan Nelson (20-1, 10 KOs) in a super middleweight match fight scheduled for 10 rounds.
Gary Russell, one of powerful Al Haymon’s star clients, was a late addition to this card and will be making his return following his first career loss suffered at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko in June. Russell, whose level of opposition at times has made rotted fruit look like granite, fought timidly and was unable to consistently keep Lomachenko from getting into his comfort zone. To his credit, Russell was able to keep the fight somewhat close, and lost a majority decision, with one judge seeing the fight a draw and two others seeing Lomachenko the winner by scores of 116-114.
Chris Martin comes into Saturday’s fight on the heels of a knockout loss and having lost two of his last five. Martin’s best work seems to be pretty far in the rear view mirror. In 2010 he upset well-regarded prospect Chris Avalos. The following year he beat another prospect he was supposed to lose to; Charles Huerta. Since 2011, Martin has been unable to get over the hump. He fought to a draw with the talented Teon Kennedy before dropping a decision to Louis Orlando Del Valley and embarking on a lengthy tour of Southern California’s club circuit.
The main event’s Jesus Cuellar has displayed impressive punching power and a willingness to mix it up in the ring. He’s already made a name for himself in his home country of Argentina, and the southpaw caught the attention of American fans in September with a quick destruction of a faded Juan Manuel Marquez. Cuellar has won eight in a row, with one of those wins coming against former junior featherweight titlist Rico Ramos.
Tamayo is an opponent who should probably not be challenging for a world title. He’s only ever fought in a fight scheduled for twelve rounds three times, and each time he was knocked out in the middle or late rounds. Tamayo was scheduled to go six, eight, four, and eight rounds in his last four fights, including an 8-round majority decision win over Efrain Esquivias this past April.
Julian Williams will be making his fourth appearance this year. Still considered a prospect, Williams is being brought along fast and has bested the challenges placed before him thus far in his career. Williams can already claim several notable names on his resume, including Joachim Alcine, Michael Medina, Freddy Hernandez and Hugo Centeno Jr. In his last fight, Williams pitched a shutout against unbeaten prospect Eliezer Gonzalez.
Jamar Freeman is a late replacement and stepped in on Wednesday following the announcement of an injury sustained by Edgar Ortega, who suffered an injury in training. He has no notable career wins.
Julius Jackson, who takes on once-beaten Jonathan Nelson in the opener, is a former Olympian and son of former world champion Julian Jackson. He hasn’t yet been seriously tested in his 18 career fights, and has fought only once in 2014; a two-round August 1 win over Crispulo Andino.
Like Jackson, Jonathan Nelson is still a prospect looking to make a name for himself. He suffered his first career defeat against Brandon Gonzalez last November, but made a successful comeback with a three-round stoppage win over club fighter Johnathan Corn in March.
The fights will take place at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington, and will be broadcast on Showtime Extreme beginning at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.