WBO Lightweight Champion Ricky Burns (35-2) will fight for the first time in almost a year when he takes on Jose Gonzalez (22-0) in Glasgow on Saturday. He is 1/5 to move to 36-2, while his opponent is 7/2 to dethrone the Scot.
Gonzalez, a mandatory opponent, comes with a deserved reputation as a big hitter after 17 stoppages in his 22 bouts. However, he has never fought over 12 rounds, nor against anyone of Burns’ pedigree – let alone for a world title.
With 10 knockouts in 35 wins Burns is not regarded as an especially destructive fighter, however doubts over his ability to force a stoppage were dispelled in his last fight with hard-hitting Londoner Kevin Mitchell (33-2, 24 ko), brutally stopped in round four after a Burns left hook.
The simple fact is that Burns’ technique is so sound, and at 5-foot-10 he possesses a rangy frame for a lightweight, that he often doesn’t have to force the issue. Cool under pressure, Mitchell tried to goad him forwards, and was duly punished.
To further Burns’ claims, Paulus Moses (26-2, 18 KO) is regarded as a big puncher, and was dispatched by the Scot in his penultimate fight, outscored heavily on all three scorecards.
While Gonzalez’s record commands respect, a Burns victory seems likely. The Coatbridge fighter is 5/6 to win via decision.
In addition, the Puerto Rican has only fought to 10 rounds once, so would enter uncharted territory were the fight to go the distance; Burns is 15/8 to stop the challenger early.
While Burns has never been stopped, it is difficult to envisage Gonzalez beating Burns on the scorecards – regardless of the fact that the fight is being held in Glasgow, where he will find himself at odds with a partisan crowd.
Were he to retain his unbeaten record, it would surely come by knockout. At 5/1 it undoubtedly represents his best chance of an upset.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing