Ricky Burns - The Heart Breaker
By Bobby Hunter Reporting for Ringnews24
Ricky Burns successfully defended his WBO lightweight Title in Glasgow last night but boy was he made to work for it by crafty No 1 contender Jose A Gonzalez. The Puerto Rican challenger dramatically pulled himself out of the fight after the 9th round claiming a broken wrist. Many at ringside, twitter and all over the boxing world felt it was more of a heart problem. Gonzalez was 87-84 up on all three judges cards when he called time on the fight. Watching from ringside I couldn't believe those scores as I had Burns up 87-85. Most guys around myself on press row had it similar with scores of 86-85 Burns and 87-84 Burns. Now comes the confession. When I arrived home I viewed the fight again. BUT this time i had Gonzalez in front by 86-85. Strange as my scores from Ringside usually match up when I later watch on TV. Today as I'm writing this report, some of the guys who had Burns ahead at Ringside Tweeted saying they had re-watched the fight and now had Gonzalez ahead.
Going round the boxing sites and reading the press reports showed just how wrong My ringside score was as just about everybody had Gonzalez in a handy lead when he quit. I was able to see the Sky Sports TV monitors where i was at the fight and i was amazed that Jim Watt had Gonzalez up 5-1 in rounds after 6. I even took some stick as I posted my score on twitter after the fight.
Now to the fight. A technical affair where the Puerto Rican challenger showed he belonged at world class by being able to match and probably better a proven world champion for most of the fight. Gonzalez as the fight was about to start didn't looked fazed by the loud Scottish crowd, he reminded me of the calm nature of Eusebio Perdroza before he fought Barry McGuigan at Loftus Road all those years ago. My God he fought like him too using an under rated jab and excellent defensive skills to neutralise the champions attacks.
The only footage of Gonzalez before last nights fight showed Gonzalez to be a crude styled banger, something Ricky Burns mentioned in his post fight interview with Sky Sports. The early rounds were close. Burns was throwing more but was being forced to reach in with his punches as Gonzalez cleverly Lent back to avoid. Gonzalez was the more accurate early as he was able to counter Burns with quick right hands to the body before going up to the champions head. It was a battle of the jabs in the third with both having limited success. Burns took the fourth as he upped the pressure and began to get that little bit closer to Gonzalez. All the way through Gonzalez remained clam, he was looking a very classy fighter.
Gonzalez took the fifth as he stunned Burns with a right hand mid way through the round. The challenger then blasted away at Burns on the ropes before the champion fired back in defiance. The challenger continued where he left off in the sixth by aiming more hurtful hooks at Burns body early in the round. Gonzalez jab was also beginning to land more as the champion was becoming impatient.
Round seven was the best of the fight. Gonzalez hurt Burns with a huge right early in the round and went for the knockout. Referee Russell Mora looked closely as Burns was being beaten on the ropes before the champion showed the championship qualities to come back firing when clearly hurt. A huge right uppercut from Burns forced Gonzalez to hold on before a wild left hook changed the tune of the round again for the challenger as he hurt Burns again. The round ended with both guys trading shots on the ropes. Surprisingly Burns looked the fresher??
In round eight Burns began to push Gonzalez back with the jab, it looked like the challenger was taking a round off due to his efforts in the seventh but in the 9th it appeared from ringside that the Puerto Rican might have shot his bolt. His legs looked shaky as Burns again forced Gonzalez to the ropes. Gonzalez defence was still good though as Burns was still finding it hard to land solid blows. During the interval Gonzalez refused to put his gum shield back in. We knew that he was tired but this was a world title fight he was winning. Gonzalez then refused to come out at the bell , his team were rightly raging. HE QUIT probably due to Burns breaking his heart in the seventh by coming back after being in bad trouble.
Credit has to go to the champion. He was behind on the cards, hurt and was being frustrated BUT he showed the heart of a true champion to come back , keep trying and showed WILL can overcome SKILL. Ricky Burns will now move forward with his next planned title defence in Glasgow in September. Gonzalez will have to live with his decision for the rest of his life. Gonzalez looked world class tonight. His decision to quit wasn't.