THEY say that a change is as good as a rest. Ricky Burns will certainly be hoping so as he's experienced both in recent months.
This weekend we find out if that has been a blessing or a hindrance as the super Scot defends his WBO title against Puerto Rican puncher Jose Gonzalez.
Luck deserted Burns at the end of last year when his opponent pulled out of a December fight and the late replacement Liam Walsh was injured in a car crash.
Then with a big unification clash against Miguel Vazquez approaching this spring, illness to his fellow world champion put the brakes on that too.
Burns was peeved, picked up his bag and left Frank Warren to join Eddie Hearn's flourishing Matchroom stable. After seven months out of action (the longest spell in recent years) Burns makes his debut for the new team.
On paper this looks a good piece of matchmaking with Gonzalez holding the No.1 ranking within the WBO but only just inside the top 50 with Boxrec.
Unbeaten in 22 fights, Gonzalez has built a reputation as a puncher with 17 stoppage wins including 10 KOs inside three rounds. There's no doubt the Puerto Rican is still raw and he has an amateur habit of pulling back from punches in straight lines but he's as dangerous as that record suggests.
Gonzalez has been fighting opponents some way removed from Burns in terms of ability but he has impressed in demolishing them nonetheless. Oscar Cuero was a late notice, eight-time losing rival but Gonzalez hammered him with a couple of crunching body shots.
Eddie Soto was also halted in a round with a short, left-right combination as Gonzalez produced a scary, showreel stoppage off the back foot. There is no doubt Gonzalez is heavy handed, he fights with poise and patience too and if he lands, this is a fight he can win.
It is though a massive step up in class for Gonzalez against a champion who seems at the top of his game, at least the last time we saw him.
I was ringside in September when Burns thumped Kevin Mitchell in four rounds, a sensational, decisive performance that took most of the boxing world by surprise.
Ricky looked enormous that night – he's clearly growing into the division – and has developed a fast, effective style. The jab will be important again for Burns and he looks quicker than Gonzalez but will have to be wary of counters off his lead punch.
There is also the danger Burns might have gone off the boil given he has been in and out of training camps since October. Generally Burns is in the gym anyway so it may be a matter of staying focused more than anything else but it's possible he may be jaded.
The Scot trades on his fitness along with excellent technique so backers will have to trust he is on it as usual. If so, Burns has the ability to control this fight and take it on points.
Gonzalez reminds me a little of Breidis Prescott who came to the UK in 2008 as an unknown with a punchers' record and left as the man who hammered Amir Khan.
He will size up as the biggest Burns has fought in the division and looks the most dangerous too. The footage of Gonzalez shows a fighter who has improved significantly in the last two years and one who has both the weight and variety of punch to cause Burns problems and hurt him too.
We just don't know if Gonzalez is quick enough or indeed good enough and if he can hold it together at this level but I wouldn't put anyone off a small bet. Gonzalez is one dangerous dude – with 14 KOs from his last 16 fights – and he's hungry too.
The pair share Joseph Laryea on their records with Burns winning in seven in 2011 and who Gonzalez sparked in just three rounds last July, further evidence Gonzalez is the hunter here.
The likelihood is Burns will be able to control the action and perhaps outclass Gonzalez, certainly I can see that as a possibility and I have the feeling “Rickster” will be able to make his opponent miss.
Gonzalez looks quite menacing if not methodical, a bit like Cotto in the early days. It could just be he's one-paced but we won't know until he takes this rise in class.
Burns is unbeaten in 20 fights stretching over six years, he knows how to win and remember he diffused Michael Katsidis comfortably enough.
This may be a step back from the unification fights Burns was hoping for but they are on hand if he wins and given the timing as well as the emotional difficulties of the past year, this may be Ricky's biggest test yet.
I'm hoping it will be another Burns' night in Scotland but there is upset in the air.
Jose Gonzalez to win by KO/TKO at 4.0