WBO lightweight champion Ricky "Rickster" Burns (35-2, 12 KO) will defend his title against Jose "Chelo" Gonzalez (22-0, 17 KO) on Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland.
Burns has had two previous bouts canceled, so he has to be thrilled to finally get back in the ring. He won't have an easy opponent in front of him, though.
Gonzalez is undefeated and his punching power is significant.
Burns was born and raised in Scotland, so he will certainly have the crowd behind him, but will he be victimized by a combination of ring rust and Gonzalez's power shots?
Here's how you can watch.
When: Saturday, May 11, 2 p.m. ET
Where: Emirates Arena, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
TV: Sky Sports
Live Stream: Sky Sports (Region Restrictions)
The Book on Burns
Is This a Trap Fight?
Burns is surely happy to finally be back from a nine-month lay off, but the 30-year-old must be wary of ring rust and an opponent with serious power.
Even though Gonzalez is dangerous, he doesn't have the name recognition of the two fighters Burns was scheduled to face before the cancellations.
A bout with Adrien Broner or Miguel Vazquez would have been unification bouts. Defeating those two young stars would have made Burns more of a household name worldwide. The benefit won't be the same in this bout.
This can be the type of situation that sets a fighter up for a fall. Per Boxing News 24, Burns is mentally prepared:
I’m really looking forward to May 11. He’s a big puncher with a great KO record, but I’ve been in with big punchers before and that doesn’t worry me in the slightest.
It’s great to have the date and name sorted now so I can just focus on getting myself in great shape for a big night in Glasgow.
It only takes one punch to change a night. Burns has to make sure his attention isn't diverted.
In the Ring
Burns doesn't wow you with speed and he doesn't have explosive power. However, he is an accurate and controlled puncher, and he throws great head-to-body combinations.
What Burns doesn't have in natural athleticism, he compensates for in solid fundamentals, grit and heart. He will always struggle with fighters who have great quickness or immense power, but his skill level will at least make him competitive.
To be effective against Gonzalez, Burns will need to mix in feints and combination punching. Staying in the pocket against the hard-punching Puerto Rican could be hazardous for Burns.
The Book on Gonzalez
If you listen to the beginning of the impressive KO video below, you know that Gonzalez has had his sights set on Burns for a while.
Gonzalez decimates Oscar Cuero with two huge body shots in the first round. Take note of the shots and the commentators speaking on Gonzalez's hopes of facing Burns.
There is something to be said for the motivation of a fighter who finally gets a shot at the champion he's been gunning for.
This is a great opportunity for him to capture a title and gain respect against a world champion.
He's coming into this fight as a relative unknown, but if he wins, many more people will know his name on Sunday morning.
In the Ring
Some guys just have dynamite in their gloves—Gonzalez is one of them. His punches can be a bit wide from the outside at times, but in close quarters, he tightens them up well.
His body punching can be devastating. That was on display in the video above. The video below shows Gonzalez scoring a brutal first-round KO over Eddie Soto. Soto had to be taken out on a stretcher and given oxygen after the fight.
Thankfully, he was OK and has fought twice since the scary knockout.
He's currently on a torrid knockout/stoppage pace; Gonzalez has halted 11 of his last 13 opponents. This is a dangerous fight for Burns because of Gonzalez's power. Fans could be in store for an exciting bout.
In a bit of an upset, I'm predicting Gonzalez wins the fight by late stoppage. I know Burns is eager to get in the ring after a lay off, but it may be hard to get up for a lesser-known opponent.
Gonzalez isn't as famous as Broner and Vazquez, but his power—especially to the body—will be the biggest factor in this fight.
He will capitalize on this opportunity and stop Burns to win the WBO lightweight title.
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