By James McKnight @JamesMcKnight83
BURNS AIMING TO EXTINGUISH GONZALEZ THREAT!
Ricky Burns is aiming to make a third successive defense of the WBO lightweight title on May 11. The Coatbridge fighter comes up against Puerta Rican mandatory challenger, Jose Gonzalez, at the Emirates arena, Glasgow.
Burns (35-2-0, 10 KO's), split from promoter, Frank Warren, in March and signed with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport. This was down to Burns' unification title bout with Mexican IBF 135lb titlist, Miguel Vazquez, being called off for a second time. Burns, 30, claimed the interim WBO belt in November 2011 when he defeated Australian, Michael Katsidis, at Wembley arena, London. 'Rickster' then defended the belt in March 2012 beating Namibian, Paulus Moses, in Glasgow. Both of those victories were won by unanimous decision after 12 rounds. Burns then returned to Glasgow in September. He put on one of his most impressive performances to date by stopping England's, Kevin Mitchell, in just four rounds.
Gonzalez (22-0-0, 17 KO's), hails from Toa Baja, Puerta Rica, and will be fighting outside of his native Country for the first time in his career. The unbeaten 29-year-old made his debut in April 2008. He claimed the vacant WBO Latino lightweight title in June 2011 and has successfully defended the title five times, winning six of his last seven bouts inside the distance. He can well and truly bang. Gonzalez has a knockout percentage of 77.27, compared to Burns' 27.03%. He has not got the ring experience like Burns has, boxing 92 rounds compared to Burns' 260, but he has a no-nonsense, no-fear attitude. The Puerta Rican stands at 5'8" with a reach of 73" whilst Burns stands at 5'10" with a reach of 70".
Burns is the odds on favourite with the bookies, but Gonzalez' odds on winning are not too long. He is priced at around 4/1. It will be interesting to see how he fairs against the tough and durable Burns. The Coatbridge fighter has been down in the past, but he has also shown he has a good chin and heart. He is a smart boxer who lets his hands go methodically. Despite not having great power, Burns is capable of inflicting cumulative damage.
Gonzalez has fought at a lower level to Burns. The Scottish champion should pose him more problems for him than any other opponent has to date. Gonzalez looks like a patient boxer, waiting to time his opponents with that deadly shot, but I have also seen clips of him coming forward, working off his jab to get close and inflict damage. I think he has the classic 'punchers chance' in this fight. I believe Burns is definitely taking him seriously because Gonzalez poses a real threat in my opinion. Anyone who has solid punch power always has a shot at winning, so Burns has to stay fully focused and stick to his game plan. I think it would be dangerous for Burns to go toe-to-toe with this guy.
A win for Gonzalez would well and truly put his name on the map, but I think Burns will produce the goods and win by unanimous decision. I would not count out Burns having to get off the canvas in order to win this though.