It will be Big time British boxing at its very best on Saturday night (September 22nd) when Scotland’s Ricky Burns makes the second defence of his WBO lightweight title against Cockney favourite Kevin Mitchell in a bang-up that seems sure to feature in the Fight of the Year honours.
On his day, Kevin Mitchell is capable of beating anybody but his life style doesn’t appear best suited to professional boxing and he has good days and bad. He’s not as consistent as Burns who lives the life 110%.
But I’ve been in the gym alongside Mitchell and seen how hard he’s been training. His mind’s right and he looks in really good form.
Kev’s a really sharp puncher and he’s got great timing. I see him walking Ricky Burns onto something and forcing a late stoppage. I see a few little holes in Burns and I expect Kevin to find them.
I don’t think the location will be an issue. I saw Kevin fight John Murray in the north-west and he just swaggered out. Also Mitchell’s certainly got more one punch power.
Burns might not have anything that makes you go ‘Wow!’ but he’s extremely fit, extremely hard to break down and, when he puts those long forearms up, it’s very difficult to nail him with anything flush. It’ll be a good ‘un.
It’ll be a cracking fight. Burns has a great Cinderella story and trains too hard to be beat by one punch so I think it’ll go to the cards. But Kevin will be really hungry, wanting to prove a point. If he doesn’t pull this one out of the bag, where does he go?
Kevin showed when he beat John Murray up in Liverpool that the venue means little to him. Even though it’s on Ricky’s turf, for me, Mitchell’s both the better warmonger and the better boxer, and I expect him to pull it off.
I actually sparred Ricky about three years ago but I think he’s improved a lot since then. He’s certainly got stronger inside and now he can really bring that left hook through to the body.
Mitchell’s a very good finisher and can certainly punch so Ricky might have to come through some rocky moments, possibly even get off the floor, to win. But Ricky’s really hard to hit on the ropes and I think he probably wins on points. He’s in great form at the minute. He’s got a very underrated jab and I think he can control the fight with that.
If it was in London or even Manchester, I might edge to Kevin but the momentum and home advantage favour Burns. On his night, Mitchell can compete with the best of them. When he performs, he’s top quality and very, very heavy handed. He’ll be striving to be a world champion and I really expect him to bring it, to refuse to lose. If it’s going to happen for him at world level, it has to be this one.
But it’ll take a very special performance to take the title off Ricky in Scotland and I’ve a sneaky feeling that Ricky will retain. Just.
But since first winning the world title, Burns has just got better and better. He ups his game a bit more every time. His jab may be predictable but it’s very consistent.
I expect it to be real close for six rounds but, after the turn, I expect Burns to take over. He’s got that little bit more experience at the very top level. Burns on points in a cracker.
Ricky does the basics very well, has a solid guard and tighter defence. The grapevine is rife that he got the better of it when they sparred and that might give Ricky a psychological boost. He won’t take Mitchell lightly and he’s bound to be bullish fighting in his own back garden.
Either way, I see a stoppage late on and, tentatively, I’ll go with Kevin. He’s the stiffer hitter, certainly the more spiteful, and he’ll have those ‘let’s have it’ moments.
Firstly, I have to salute Ricky and his fantastic trainer, Billy Nelson, on the way they dissected Michael Katsidis. They out boxed and out fought him for the full 12 rounds. Remember, it was the same Katsidis who stopped Kevin Mitchell. But that’s Kevin’s only loss, he fought completely the wrong fight and got done early.
Ricky’s technically cleaner, immaculate, and he can adjust. But I feel Kevin is the better all-rounder, probably tougher and definitely the harder hitter. Remember how he tamed Breidis Prescott, made him look amateurish. In Jimmy Tibbs, he has an exceptional coach.
Provided Kevin applies himself in preparation and isn’t affected by issues in his ‘outside’ life, he wins the fight and I don’t think it’s a points thing. I see Burns getting stopped.
Ricky’s become a very difficult animal to beat. Though Kevin himself has fantastic boxing ability, I think Burns has got the better jab, the better engine and the better all round game. He’s also got an edge in top level experience, been in tougher fights and come through them.
A lot depends on what Kevin Mitchell turns up. I didn’t think he was firing on all cylinders in the 10 rounder he had in February with Felix Lora and, though he’s very talented, he hasn’t got the best defence.
If he’s on it, it’ll be very close and Ricky will need to be right at the top of his game …..but he always is!
He’s the more disciplined, has less hassle in his life. He’s got a more consistent track record. Kevin’s been out of title action for quite a while and he’s had a few ups and downs in his private life.
Unless there’s a cut, I’d expect Burns to grind out a 12 round decision by a three or four round margin.
But I’ll go with Burns to get behind his jab and pinch it on points from long range. He’s the more consistent, has been kept busier and has more momentum. I think that will be decisive in the later part of the fight.
It depends largely on which Kevin turns up. If he turns up in the condition and form he was in when he beat Breidis Prescott, I lean slightly towards Kevin to do the job. He’s the more spiteful puncher and he’ll be hungrier. He’s had setbacks along the way and knows it’s now or never, a great opportunity to finally establish himself. I think that’ll be the deciding factor.
A year ago I’d have said Kevin Mitchell, all day long but now I edge to Burns. He’s so hard to beat, it’s hard to go against him. I think Burns will win on points by keeping it basic, sticking and moving. But Kevin can box too. I only give Burns a slight edge.
But I’m going to go with Kevin Mitchell. I’ve always been impressed with him since I saw him thrash Stephen Smith something like 19-1 in the amateurs. At his brilliant best, like he was against Breidis Prescott and John Murray, he’s a fighter we can all learn off.
I know he got stopped by Katsidis who Ricky beat quite comfortably but that wasn’t the Kevin Mitchell we all know. Clearly something was up with him that night.
Under Jimmy Tibbs he’s a great fighter and I see him winning clearly on points or by late stoppage. I just think he’s a better fighter, a much harder puncher.
Personally, I’d rather watch Kevin all day long. I’ve loved his style since he was a junior amateur. If he lands one of his big left hooks he’s definitely got the power to stop Ricky Burns but I’ve just got this feeling that Ricky has his number.
There’s nothing really special about Burns but he’s really solid all round. He’s got a great jab, good one-two, lovely uppercut and nice defence; always high hands and chin tucked. He’s a very fit, dedicated lad.
Also it’s common knowledge that Kevin had his arse handed to him by Burns in sparring. Ricky just seems to have the perfect style to tame Mitchell. Burns on points.
Ricky Burns is a very calm guy, very tight defensively and he’s certainly improved in recent years. But I believe an ‘on song’ Kevin Mitchell beats him on points, even up in Scotland. Kevin’s a very experienced kid now, location shouldn’t matter. If anything, the home crowd could play into Mitchell’s hands, push Burns to impress and walk onto something.
Kevin has the better all round ability. I don’t think Burns can outbox him. Mitchell thinks a bit better. It’s Mitchell for me.
It’s a really 50-50 fight and genuinely down to who delivers on the night. I lean 51-49 in favour of Ricky. If you’ve not sparred or fought him before, he’s really hard to work out and he’ll have the best chin Kevin Mitchell will ever have come up against, guaranteed.
Kevin’s at his best when the opponent goes at him but I don’t think Ricky will be overly aggressive. He’ll wait for Kevin to make mistakes. If there’s to be any excitement, Kevin will initiate it but I’m expecting quite a cagey fight and I’d bet anything that it goes to points. It’s going to be a tremendous England v Scotland battle.
Kevin’s obviously got a puncher’s chance but it depends which Kevin Mitchell turns up. He can be a bit ‘hit ‘n’ miss’. Burns is always on form.
Mitchell has a clear edge in power but Ricky hits hard enough himself. I see him outworking Kevin Mitchell on points or possibly even grinding him down for a late stoppage.
Each fight he steps his level up a notch, gets better and better. He’s had far greater experience at the very top flight and he’s always come through those tough fights.
I think Burns has the same kind of style as John Murray and he’s not as dangerous as Breidis Prescott who Mitchell handled easily enough. Burns is very tough, I’ll give him that, but I know Kevin’s been training exceptionally hard and I think he could even stop him late.
I’ve always rated Kevin but Burns has improved so much, technically and confidence wise, since he beat Roman Martinez. Burns has also got the better engine and that’ll see him edge it over the late rounds. Burns on points in a good ‘un.
But I’m a big, big Kevin Mitchell fan. Clearly he underperformed against Michael Katsidis but to do what he did against John Murray, it was a hell of a result. I see a very good technical fight – I don’t foresee any knockdowns either way – but Mitchell’s got class and I think he outpoints Burns, even up in Scotland.
Kevin’s obviously had some personal problems but hopefully they’re sorted. He seems rejuvenated of late. I think he’s probably got a bit more power and quality than anybody that Ricky Burns has fought before. He whacks really hard and Ricky’s been over a few times before.
It’s going to be a close one but I sense Kevin will be a bit too strong and powerful. If he catches him with a clean shot he might even put him away.
Gary Buckland has been sparring Burns and really rates him but I go with Mitchell, possibly on a late stoppage. I really like Kevin’s energy and, on his game, he’s hot, real class.
Burns is more reserved, doesn’t take chances whereas Mitchell is very exciting. I think he’ll be really up for it and might have a bit more dog.
Ricky Burns has improved out of recognition since first winning a world title and the Scottish crowd should help him no end. They could also make him tense.
I’m going for Kevin Mitchell on points. I was so impressed with him against John Murray and I think he might want it a bit more.
But I only go against Mitchell because of his inactivity. Jimmy Tibbs is really good at getting into Kevin’s head. He’ll not mind going into Burns backyard and he can really bang. I’m hoping Kevin does him but I think Ricky wins on points.