• Lightweight

Burns sees exciting times ahead

May 11, 2013
Ricky Burns is ready for the challenge of Jose Gonzalez © PA Photos

Lightweight titlist Ricky Burns of Scotland would prefer to save the chaos for inside the ring. Outside of it, he is a happy camper heading into his third title defence on Saturday at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

Outside the ring, Burns (35-2, 10 KOs) said all is well since he signed with promoter Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sports earlier this year after what he said were unhappy times with Frank Warren after two consecutive fights were cancelled at short notice, including the unification fight he wanted so badly with Miguel Vazquez in March.

Now, in his first fight with Hearn (although facing a lawsuit from Warren), Burns will make his third title defence when he faces mandatory challenger Jose Gonzalez (22-0, 17 KOs) of Puerto Rico.

"I am really excited about Eddie's plans," Burns said. "Everybody knows I am just a quiet guy. I keep myself to myself and my attitude is the same towards boxing. You have pressure on you knowing that you are going into these big fights defending your title, but with the crowd I put that to the back of my mind and don't let anything bother me.

"I have stability in my career. The way Eddie was talking, he wants to build my profile back up in Scotland and keep me active and fighting regularly. It is great fighting in Scotland. I remember when Scott Harrison was world [featherweight] champion and I used to get on all his undercards, it was great and this is great for the up-and-coming fighters to get the opportunity to get on the big shows and show everybody what they can do."

Gonzalez, 29, has a great-looking record but it is devoid of any quality victories and he has never fought outside of Puerto Rico. Gonzalez is so unknown that Burns said finding footage of him was difficult for him and trainer Billy Nelson, although Burns said that he prefers to box opponents without having watched much of them anyway.

"We have been struggling to get any footage of his fights," Burns said. "The only things we can find on YouTube is him knocking boys out. He is obviously a big puncher, but I have been in with big punchers before so I will just have to make sure my hands are up and I go out there and do what I have been training to do.

"Everybody knows my attitude towards it - I don't really like watching footage of my opponents. I am a believer in whatever happens on the night is going to happen. When you are studying what they are doing you are trying to suss them out, but the way I look at it is I would like to concentrate on what I am doing rather than what they are doing."

Burns, who was also a titleholder at junior-lightweight before vacating to move up, is vastly experienced and has faced a number of quality opponents. He said he is not concerned with Gonzalez's excellent knockout ratio, which reminds him of Puerto Rico's Rocky Martinez, whom Burns defeated to win a junior-lightweight belt in 2010 despite being knocked down in the first round.

"His knockout ratio doesn't concern me at all," said Burns, who turned 30 last month. "When I fought Martinez he was knocking everybody out and after the first round when I got caught clean I was fine. I have been in with big punchers before so I will just go in there and do what I have to do."

As good as Gonzalez's power appears to be, Burns said his is underrated, although he is coming off a fourth-round knockout of contender Kevin Mitchell.

"I am a good boxer but over my last few fights I have been getting a lot more aggressive," Burns said. "I have been going forward a lot more and I can fight on the front. Although when you look at my record I don't really have a lot of knockouts, I do hit hard enough to make the guy think about coming in."

Gonzalez has not had much to say in the buildup to the fight but has shown Burns all the respect in the world.

"I respect Ricky Burns a lot. He is a good champion," Gonzalez said. "But I'm here to do my job in the ring. That's what I'm here for. We have worked intensely, as always, for my fight, but with the focus on winning the title.

"I know, I'm going to fight in his home, but in the ring will be only Burns and me. I just want to beat Burns and bring the title to Puerto Rico."

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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