WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns faces the toughest test of his career on March 16th when he will attempt to become the first Scottish unified world champion. At the Wembley Arena, Burns will headline against Mexican IBF champion Miguel Vazquez.
It was thought that Burns would face Adrien Broner, but due to a lack of preparation time that fight never materialised. However, should Burns prevail over his Mexican rival then the stage is set for a showdown with the American in the summer. It’s a fight, if we are to believe Ricky, he wants. But, as he well knows, it would be foolish to look past Vazquez. Indeed, it is foolish to look past any fight – just ask Amir Khan about the consequences of doing so.
There are two real stand-out performances over two stand-out names on Burns’ record. The first being current WBO world super-featherweight champion Roman Martinez, whom Burns defeated by unanimous decision in 2010. Secondly, there is Michael Katsidis and, again, Burns would emerge with the unanimous decision in his first fight in the lightweight division. Burns will be hoping to make it three out of three, but Vazquez is an almost polar opposite kind of fighter compared to Katsidis and Martinez.
Where Martinez and Katsidis are come-forward aggressive fighters, Vazquez is a runner/mover. He doesn’t present many countering opportunities due to rarely staying in the pocket long enough. Sure, he’s not pleasing on the eye and his style may force you to change the channel, but he’s a crafty fighter and a tough out for any fighter in the division – and yes, I include Adrien Broner as one of those fighters.
Similar to Burns, Vazquez has a long jab and has mastered his style of keeping his opponents on the end of it. Burns also likes to keep his opponents on the end of his jab, but one figures that he’ll be unable to do this come fight night due to the elusiveness Vazquez possesses.
For Burns, who is a huge lightweight, he must look to use his size to his advantage. He’s going to have to be the aggressor and he’s going to have to try and rough Vazquez up. To give an example, for me, Burns has to do what Robert Guerrero did to Andre Berto. He has to pressure from start-to-finish and prevent Vazquez from gaining any kind of rhythm. The early rounds in this fight will prove crucial.
Burns is a good boxer, and, as Kevin Mitchell knows only too well, the counter left hook of Burns is a weapon. However, if Burns opts to be the boxer then I fear he will be out-slicked over the 12 rounds. If he looks to counter, he’ll also run the risk of losing on the cards. Vazquez, as has already been said, is not pretty, but he’s effective.
Ultimately, for Burns, this fight isn’t about looking good. He’s done that, he’s looked good in previous fights. This is just about getting the victory and setting up a bigger fight. If he has to win ugly, then so be it.
On reading some comments on Twitter this past week I seen that a lot of boxing fans have picked Kell Brook to defeat Devon Alexander. I don’t object to that point of view, as I believe Brook is capable of doing the business over in America.
What did surprise me, however, was the method of victory most seem to have chosen and the general portrayal that this will be an easy nights work for Brook.
I don’t get that train of thought at all. Brook, while having a fairly fancy record, doesn’t strike me as a man who has bags of power. He’s a big welterweight, sure, but his power, while good enough to keep his opponents honest, is not concussive. Alexander has been in with much harder-hitters than Brook; Lucas Matthysse and Randall Bailey to name two.
Yes, he was dropped by Matthysse but at no time did he look like being stopped. And as dull as his fight with Bailey was, he did eat a flush right hand from the man who, on one punch power alone, is one of the deadliest in the sport. And let’s not forget Marcos Maidana as well who never got close to finding the target against him.
It’s possible that Brook wins, but this is his toughest challenge to date and it will be anything but an easy fight.
Hey, all this may prove to be nonsense if Brook does get a knockout, but logic, and I know logic doesn’t usually apply in boxing, suggests that this fight goes to the cards.
David Haye has re-applied for a boxing license. The rumour mill will be working overtime as people speculate that he will be fighting one of the Klitschko brothers. I’ll be blunt and say I don’t have an interest in seeing Haye fight either of them.
I’ve seen how he fought Wladimir and I don’t need, or want, to see that fight again. He might do better against Vitali, but I see him losing that one, too.
I dream of Haye returning and fighting Marco Huck. That’s what I want.