Kevin Mitchell Vs Ricky Burns and the culture of fantasy boxing

     A domestic classic has been setup by Frank Warren promotions which will see Essex boy Kevin Mitchell face off against friend and Scottish favourite the WBO lightweight Champion Ricky Burns.  A fight that had been rumoured for a long time has finally materialised. When the two met in the RAF museum in London today for their first press conference in front of the media.  This is not your standard fight.  In fact the connotations are much bigger as it shows an example of a ‘fantasy boxing’ type match up.

The fight, being dubbed the “Battle of Britain” is an example of two of Britain’s best lightweights comes face to face to determine who the superior fighter is.  Dagenham’s Kevin Mitchell boast a record of 33 wins, 24 by Knockout with 1 defeat while Burns has a similar record of 34 wins, 9 by knockout and 2 losses.  This is an intriguing fight that will not only see the top two ranked British lightweights but will also see a clash of different exciting styles.  Ricky Burns has propelled his career by winning the vacant WBO lightweight against tough brawler Michael Katsidis.  Although he does not boast a great knockout record, his boxing skill alone has identified him as a classy operator with eye catching combinations and swift movement in the ring that sees him frustrate his opponents.  On the other hand Kevin Mitchell has a 70% knockout record and without doubt his most impressive performance came against fellow Brit John Murray in a fight that was labelled British fight of the year in 2011.  Mitchell tasted his first defeat at the hands of Australian Katsidis, the man that Ricky Burns beat.  However this is not to say that Burns will walk through his opponent come fight night as “The Hammer” has the ability to brawl when necessary but can box his way to victory when put in that situation.  With only one loss on his record Mitchell will be no stroll in the park for the Scottish champion, in fact it could be Ricky Burns’ toughest challenge to date as there will be fireworks in a potential fight of the year.  If we look at this fight in a larger frame we finally see a brilliant fight that has been spoken about for a long while.  I want to focus on these “fantasy boxing” type match ups that have come and gone this year and state why we should have more fights that materialise.

2012 has seen boxing come under a lot of criticism from fans, media and the everyday person.  Terrible judging, drug abuse and ‘that incident in Munich’ have put the sweet science under the spotlight and not in a positive way.  The best way to raise the name of the sport is to deliver fights that will live up to the standards of the many great matches that came before us.  To an extent this has happened. We as boxing fans have been given some classic matches to savour that fits into the category of “fantasy boxing” type matches.  The contest between Carl Froch and Lucian Bute is just one of the many fights which would see two boxers at the top of the game slug it out to determine the more superior boxer.  Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto Vs Champion Floyd Mayweather was another electric fight that did not disappoint, showcasing to future hall of famer battle for 12 rounds not only defeat each other but to give something back to the fans.  To add to this list Lucas Matthysse Vs Humberto Soto and Julio Caesar Chavez Jr Vs Andy Lee were also fights where the best face the best.  What do these fights all have in common? They not only showcase the desired fighters fighting each other they were also great boxing match ups that did not disappoint.

However to an extent some fights are not being made sue to various reasons.  For example the fight between hard hitting James Kirkland and Saul Alvarez was set to be a barnstormer between two of the most exciting fighters in the sport today.  It was a fight which promised so much and had an exciting buzz in the boxing atmosphere which would leave fans savouring the taste but unfortunately the fight was cancelled.  Then there was a real treat that was on offer when it was announced that the exciting Brandon Rios would face the talented Cuban Yuriokis Gamboa.  This fight would have seen two young undefeated athletes give it all try and cement a legacy and their record.  This particular fight was interesting as both Rios and Gamboa have high KO ratios.  However the Cuban did not turn up to any of the scheduled press conferences and thus the fight was scrapped.  Along with these two examples fights such as Nonito Donaire Vs Guillermo Rigondeaux and Erislandy Lara Vs well anyone to be fair. On the British domestic scene David Price Vs Tyson Fury and Scott Quigg Vs Carl Frampton are fights which fight fans are desperate to watch yet it seems that they are not even close to facing off against each other.  On a consistent basis fans should be receiving the fights which they want to watch instead makeshift fights seem to be occurring a lot in the sport today. I do realise that sometimes it is out of the hands of the promoters E.G Amir Khan Vs Lamont Peterson and Victor Ortiz Vs Andre Berto and I do understand that on occasions shock victories such as Josesito Lopez’ over Victor Ortiz does generate lot of interest and excitement.

However my overall conclusion is that we should commend the sport of boxing when we get these “fantasy boxing” type fights and we should look forward to in anticipation to these fights as they have the power to highlight the positivity that comes with boxing.  This is not to say that EVERY fight should be of the highest order of the greatest boxers in a certain weight division, it’s to say that if a great fight can be made between two professional boxers it should be made and I find Ricky Burns Vs Kevin Mitchell an example of this.  I hope readers and avid boxing heads do not take my thoughts the wrong way. My aim is to try and commend those who were involved in creating these elite fights and encourage those in similar positions to continue to give these impressive exhibitions.

So with that all said and done. What would be your perfect match up this year?

6 Responses to “Kevin Mitchell Vs Ricky Burns and the culture of fantasy boxing”

  1. DyceReds says:

    Perfect matchups for 2012

    Once Burns out points Mitchell, an all Scottish world title fight with the second coming of Scott Harrison. Even if Mitchell beats Ricky I’d still love to see it!

    Rigondeaux v Donaire

  2. John says:

    Great piece. This a very interesting fight between the boxer and the puncher. I favour Burns to pick up a UD in front of his home fans in a very competitive fight

  3. Lee says:

    We all want to see genuine pick em’s like this and hats off for raising awareness. I can’t split em but I’m going to go with a Mitchell win by late stoppage when behind on points.

    Macklin vs Barker/Murray, Fury vs Helenius, John Murray vs Rees/Mathews, Paul Smith vs Kenny Anderson, Groves vs Magee, BJ Saunders vs Ryder/Eubank Jr, Gavin vs Witter/Purdy. All good matches i’d watch!

  4. Great article, 2012 truly has seen ups and dpwns for boxing but we all know it is the best sport in the world in my opinion. keep up the good work and thanks for writing this!

  5. Tony says:

    Really good article. For me this is going to be fight of the year. I like John is going for a Burns UD win.

  6. Billy says:

    Good stuff.

    I think it’s incredibly unfortunate that neither Golden Boy or Top Rank will do business with another as there are some great fights to be made, so when we do get a genuine 50/50 fight between the top two in a division (Burns v Mitchell and Munro v Quigg to name two) it makes a refreshing change.

    As for potential match-up I want to see, I have two:

    Nonito Donaire v Guillermo Rigondeax – a fight that can and should happen, but Donaire doesn’t seem interested because Rigo ‘won’t make him look good.’

    Other match-up would be Martinez v Mayweather. It might happen, but sadly I don’t see it – Martinez presents a lot of risk with very little reward for Floyd to consider that fight in my opinion.

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