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The Drama That Was Ricky Burns – Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez

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Jose Gonzalez (left) avoids a right hand from Ricky Burns (right) in their WBO Jr. Lightweight

Championship Saturday night in Glasgow, Scotland

By. BrotherJR

May 15, 2013

When I first heard that Ricky Burns would be defending his WBO Lightweight title against Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez in Glasgow, Scotland, I figured that this would be basically a ho-hum defense by Burns.  I haven’t seen much of Gonzalez. From what I have seen of Gonzalez, I really impressed. “Chelo” had the look of a decent boxer with some nice skills and decent power, but nothing that would give the experienced Burns much trouble.  To me, this looked to be a fairly easy defense for Ricky Burns who was coming off an eight month layoff due to the a postponed unification bout against IBF Lightweight Champion Miguel Vazquez due to an injury suffered by Vaszuez as well as Burns switching promoters from Frank Warren to Eddie Hearn. In the end, I was dead wrong about this bout.  Not only was this a good fight, but fairly dramatic and filled with surprises with an ending that still has people scratching their heads wondering exactly what happened.

As far as the fight goes Gonzalez (22-1, 17 KO’s) got off to a hot start. He established the tempo from early in the fight and not just out-boxed Burns, but badly out-boxed the defending champ (36-2, 11 KO’s).  “Chelo” was not only landing the jab to great effect, but did a terrific job of landing punches to both the head of the champ. Burns, making the third defense of the WBO title, was confused, and didn’t have a clue on how to attack Gonzalez and fought passively.  Rounds five and six were big rounds for Gonzalez as he cemented his early start by dominating Burns, forcing him to fight off the back foot.  Through the first off of the contest it was all Gonzalez, and the sense was that an upset was about to happen.

Burns, sensing that he was behind came out with fire as he tried to make turn the bout into a brawl in the seventh.  However, Gonzalez fight back and hurt Burns badly with a right hand that pushed him back to the ropes. Burns showed the heart of a champion, fighting back and hurting Gonzalez with a series of shots.  This was the best round of the fight.  Round seven seemed to take something out of Gonzalez while Burns turned it up even more fighting with a greater sense of urgency in eight and ninth as he continues to apply pressure. Even though Gonzalez was fading a bit and after nine rounds, he seemed to be leading on the scorecards.

And then things got weird.  In between rounds nine and 10, Gonzalez quit while on the stool.  While the  commentators on Sky Sports reported a hand injury by Gonzalez, the fact that he essentially said “no mas” still comes as a surprise and confounded those who were watching the fight.  Boxing fans throughout social media were asking a collective WTH, confused by what they just saw.  In the end Ricky Burns retains his WBO Lightweight title in what was the most dramatic bout of his professional career, but he awfully lucky to do so.

Here a few points in the aftermath of this bout.  Ricky Burns may not be the fighter I thought he was.  When some of my UK followers and friends would suggest that Burns would give Adrien Broner a good laugh, I would say no way.  This bout confirms my view.  Burns, who turned down a fight with Broner on two separate occasions, would have been destroyed by Broner.  With that being said, I’ve always felt that Ricky Burns was a bit underrated and a good fighter.  My opinion has changed a bit.  Given how Burns struggled with a Jose Gonzalez who is far from an elite boxer, how would he fare against a tricky boxer like Miguel Vazquez, or an up and coming slickster like rising Lightweight contender Terrence Crawford.  Could Burns had underestimated Gonzalez an not taken him seriously?  Sure.  However, this fight raises more questions about Ricky Burns and how good of a fighter he really is.

As for Jose Gonzalez, the way he meekly quit while on his stool is borderline inexcusable.  While reports in the aftermath have said that Gonzalez suffered an injured wrist, this is boxing, a hard sport for hard men.  There have been a litany of boxers both past and present who have fought through hand and wrist injuries that didn’t quit.  The unwritten rule is that you fight through hand injuries and deal with the injury after the fight.  What makes this even more confusing is that Gonzalez was leading 87-84 on all three scorecards after nine rounds.  Surely Gonzalez, as well as his corner, had an idea that he was ahead in the fight.  Given that context, you simply do not quit and say no more.  Gonzalez tarnished his reputation and he will find it hard to land a rematch with Burns or land a big fight against any name guy.  It would have been better for him to fight on rather than quit on his stool.

In the beginning, I though that Ricky Burns title defense would be fairly easy.  Man was I wrong as this bout turned out to be quite a corker with plenty of questions left in the air.  This bout had more drama than a soap opera, and left boxing fans all around talking about what they just saw.  Only in boxing can you get this combination of suspense, anger, and confusion AT THE SAME DAMN TIME!!!

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May 15, 2013 - Posted by | Blog, Boxing, Fights | , , , ,

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