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.

Recommended Bet

Jose Gonzalez to win by KO/TKO at 4.0

Milesey (Betfair)

  1. Milesey 8 years ago


    We all know the drivers are the stars of the Formula One show, but the Spanish Grand Prix is where the mechanics take over.

    The three week break from Bahrain to Barcelona gives the garages the time to take stock of the opening results of the season and work out what to do next. They pore over the data – telemetry to give it its proper name – and bring out all the upgrades. By the time the F1 circus sets up camp again the form from the first four races becomes only a vague guideline.

    Certainly all the teams are talking up their technical work this week. McLaren say they will give Jenson Button a “significant” number of updates to the troubled MP4-28 car (and they need to after not finishing higher than fifth so far). Ferrari have revealed they are making changes to the bodywork, floor and wings. Lotus, the surprise package of the early races, are just as bullish about the “continuing development programme for the E21″. And Ross Brawn reckons long hours in the Mercedes factory has helped solve the lack of race pace compared to qualifying times so far.

    In fact the only people who aren’t talking about their upgrades are Red Bull. The official quotes released by the team on behalf of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are more of a travel guide than a race preview, talking about the weather, the hotels, the relaxed atmosphere of the Circuit de Catalunya, in fact about pretty much everything except what work has been done to improve their cars.

    Now that can mean one of two things. It could mean they’ve given themselves a three-week holiday to pat themselves on the back for the way Vettel shot away from Nico Rosberg at the start in Bahrain and cruised to his second victory of the season. Or far more likely it means they think actions will speak louder than words when they put the cars on the track in Barcelona.

    The early market for the Spanish Grand Prix race winner, however, seems more entranced by the technical talk. Vettel, despite winning two of four races, is a generous 3.35 for victory. I know that second favourite Fernando Alonso (4.0) has a superb record in his home event – he may have won only once in Barcelona be he has been on the podium in seven of the 11 times he’s raced there. But I’m intrigued by the secrecy around Red Bull’s development work and that makes me suspect it’s at least equal to, or probably better, than anybody else.

    The other stats worth knowing for Barcelona are that it is a tough track to overtake on. Last year there were less than 30 overtakes in the race, less than one every two laps. And on 17 occasions the driver who started on pole has still been in the lead when the chequered flag was waved. That seems to suggest a flutter on Vettel/Vettel at 4.5 in the Qualifying/Winner Double market.


    ( Betfair )


    Pune Warriors India v Mumbai Indians
    Saturday 11th May at 11:30 ITV4

    Pune Warriors India

    It is all over for Pune. Thursday’s crushing defeat by Kolkata ended any hope for them of making the end-of-season playoffs and now all that they have left to play for is avoiding last place. After losing to one of the other candidates for that role things look bleak indeed for the Warriors. One bright spot, if it can be called that, was the return to form of former captain Angelo Mathews, who struck 40 from just 28 balls in his first major contribution of the tournament. Other than that, only debutant Parvex Rasool – who bowled four economical overs – can look back with any great pleasure and it is going to take a lot for the Warriors to get themselves up for a game against one of the form teams at the moment.

    Mumbai Indians

    The rise of Mumbai has been one of the stories of the past fortnight. After making the early pace they stumbled badly, but the change of captain from Ricky Ponting to Rohit Sharma has worked like a charm, especially on Sharma himself, who has hit four half centuries since taking the reins. He’s more than made up for the relatively poor form of Sachin Tendulkar, scoring a total of 430 runs to the Little Master’s 234. In fact, Tendulkar has been so off the boil in this competition – his average is currently less than that of the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Johnson – that you have to wonder how good Mumbai might be if he finds a streak of form in the coming week. Johnson and Harbhajan have been their most lethal bowlers, with 17 and 16 strikes respectively, whilst Lasith Malinga has weighed in with 10 as well as having one of the best economy rates in the competition.

    Venue and Conditions

    This is Pune’s last home game and the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium has witnessed only one home victory, which came as long ago as April 11. Six of those defeats have come batting second, by an average margin of 31.67 runs, which is huge in T20 terms. The average first innings score is a shade over 147, but take out the time that Pune batted 20 overs for just 99 runs and it rises to over 155, making this one of the higher scoring IPL grounds. It is forecast to be a hot clear day, with temperatures approaching 40 degrees.

    Match odds

    Mumbai are understandably strong favourites at 1.56 with Pune a full point behind at 2.56. Even at that price, Mumbai look the best bet of the day.

    Top Pune Batsman

    There’s really not a lot to choose from in this market. Marlon Samuels and Steve Smith have both gone home injured, whilst Yuvraj Singh can’t buy a run at the moment. Because of this it is best to stick with the man in form and back Mathews at odds of around 4.6.

    Top Mumbai Batsman

    Sharma is the obvious bet here, but he’ll be short priced because of that good recent form. Another favourite, Denesh Karthik, was an early leader in IPL run scoring this year, but he’s fallen away over the past couple of weeks. Why not, therefore, take advantage of Tendulkar’s recent lull and get behind him at a decent price of around 4.7.

    Recommended Bet:

    Back Mumbai Indians at 1.56 to win

    Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
    Start Time: 15:30 ITV4

    Kings XI Punjab

    Nothing less than winning their last four matches will do if Kings XI are to make the play-offs which, it must be said, has never looked a realistic proposition. Take out a couple of highly unlikely run chases, led by the magnificent David Miller, and Punjab would be fighting to avoid finishing bottom of the table. Skipper Adam Gilchrist is liable to play again after hitting 42 against Rajasthan, but the Aussie legend remains a shadow of his former self and potentially an easy early wicket for Sunrisers’ pace-men. Responsibility for making a competitive total may, as usual, fall to Miller and Shaun Marsh.

    Sunrisers Hyderabad

    Following RCB’s latest victory, Sunrisers must win to stay in control of their own destiny. In order to do so, their fearsome, frugal bowlers will need to bounce back from a heavy beating last time. Having previously kept all visitors to below 130, CSK helped themselves to 223 although to be fair, besides Ishant Sharma’s catastrophic spell, that total owed more to batting brilliance. Sunrisers aren’t the first and won’t be the last to suffer against Chennai and should revert to type against today’s easier opposition.

    First Innings Runs

    A first innings total of just 142 in Thursday’s match was considerably lower than we’ve become used to at Mohali but the ease with which Rajasthan chased it down suggested par remains much higher. Given the threat posed by Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra, I’m loathe to back Punjab’s unreliable line-up but if Hyderabad bat first, I’ll be backing 160 and over. In five matches here, the only visiting side Kings XI have managed to contain was the misfiring Kolkata Knight Riders, whose 153 was widely perceived to be a poor effort.

    Match odds

    That aforementioned KKR failure was also the only time the team batting second has lost here this season, so there’s a strong temptation to just recommend waiting for the toss. I do, however, strongly fancy Sunrisers irrespective of that. This match pitches arguably the most fragile batting line-up in this year’s IPL versus arguably the most potent bowling attack. Sunrisers have been under-estimated throughout the tournament and may not be finished yet.

    Top Punjab batsman

    Mohali may be known for run-fests but it also offers something for the quicks, so I can see Steyn and Sharma reducing Punjab’s top-order to rubble. In other such scenarios, Miller has saved them but as he can’t every time, it might pay to try a middle-order alternative. Azhar Mahmood fits the bill at around 11.0.

    Top Hyderabad batsman

    Shikhar Dhawan is very much the main man in this market, winning it three times in five matches since returning from injury and dominating their scorecards last season. At just 3.1 though, his chance is reflected by the odds so instead I’m looking towards the middle-order. Big-hitters often go berserk on this ground, so Thisara Perera could be in his element at odds of around 9.0.

    Recommended bet

    Back Sunrisers Hyderbad @ 2.1

    Mumbai Indians @ 1.56
    Sunrisers Hyderbad @ 2.1


    • Milesey 8 years ago

      Mumbai Indians @ 1.56 ** WIN **

      Sunrisers Hyderbad @ 2.1 ** WIN **



  2. Patrick 8 years ago

    Gonzalez is now 7.4 to win via KO/TKO. He seems to have the proverbial puncher’s chance but his gaudy record is filled with tomato cans. You made some good points on Burns Milesey but I think class will tell and I’m on Burns via stoppage at 3.2.
    I reckon Gonzalez will be shown to be out of his depth and Burns will punish him with a mid to late rounds stoppage as an accumulation of punches sends Gonzalez to the canvas. He may get up but the ref will halt the action ;)

  3. david smith 8 years ago

    I won big on Ricky last time betting a KO in rounds 1-6

    he was 90/1 with Betfair that night for round 4

    I’ve gone along similar lines tonight with small stakes on Ko rounds 1-6

    prices range form 30/1 to 60/1

    so here’s hoping

  4. Milesey 8 years ago





    • Milesey 8 years ago

      Unable to continue hahahaha, cause he was too busy sitting on his stool, but can get up for the end to hand a win to Burns, JOKE !


  5. Milesey 8 years ago

    He was 3 rounds clear on points, should have just got off his ass and walked around the ring abit, not sat on his stool and not get up, what the hell ways that to end a fight, no sorry don’t want to get off my ass and fight anymore, 3 rounds clear on the points, he can win for i can’t be bothered.


    • Mr Fixit 8 years ago

      Milesey, look on the bright side, it’s another great Scottish win!

  6. Guido 8 years ago

    Milesys rrrrrrrrippppppin!!! :-) from what i seen/good ol Jim Watt was saying the other lad was winning easy. Dunno why ud quit??…unless he hada problem…if net, its surprising because more than anything boxers need heart/dunno why yad quit when doing so well? surprising?

  7. Milesey 8 years ago

    hahahaha well if you can get teams to sit on their arse, you may win a world cup one day ;) ;)


    • Mr Fixit 8 years ago

      Milesey, if we get teams to sit on their erse we might qualify for a World Cup one day. That would be as good as winning it these days.

  8. Milesey 8 years ago

    He retired for he was knackered ? but i thought thats why they put in hours and hours of training, didn’t want to get up off his stool, but then did at the end to stand there and hand the victory to Burns as the ref raised his hand and he celebrated a win, a win by the other boxer sitting on his arse, after taking a beating and was 3 rounds down on points, i wouldn’t be celebrating, good victory ? really ?


    • Mr Fixit 8 years ago

      Milesey, it’s maybe a compliment to Burns’ fitness. The guy’s featured in the Record quite a lot and comes across as a true pro, a dedicated trainer and a guy who just loves the sport. Everyone north of Hadrian’s Wall will hail him a great champion however the victory was achieved.

  9. Guido 8 years ago

    If ur winning trainer shooda kicked him back out into ring and hold on..such a thing as 2nd wind. i went to kitchen for another small libation n wife saud its over/fella sitting on his stool..i expected that Burns had packed in cos he was getting the runaround!

  10. Milesey 8 years ago

    Gonzalez, unbeaten in his previous 22 bouts, retired at the end of the ninth round with a damaged left wrist. hahaha, even more of a joke, fighters have gone on before with broken hands and stick in there to win fights.

    Burns V BRONER ? BRONER would seriously damage Burns, Burns wants to go for lesser fighters……. BRONER is on a different level, a different planet !


    • Patrick 8 years ago

      I think Gonzalez was mentally done as much as physically. He looks a good fighter but completely blew a gasket in round 7 and when he couldn’t finish Burns off, he was not only physically exhausted, but mentally finished too. He is used to knocking people out easy and was in a place he had never been before. Far away from home with an allegedly broken wrist added to that was too much for the lad.
      Plenty of fighters would have carried on of course but not all boxers were created equally when it comes to guts. Anyways, I won money on the KO so I’m happy :D

    • Patrick 8 years ago

      I should add that it’s easy to be critical from the comfort of our armchairs but we always expect more from boxers given their profession. Personally, I salute anyone who gets in the ring and is prepared to get bashed up to make their living, it’s a rough life!

  11. Guido 8 years ago

    suppose fighting is a lot in the head/how much you want it/not be beat..been a lotta fighters that have gone on with injuries cos their desire/mentality stops them from quitting…sometimes to the detriment of losing their lives :-( but if you’re ahead and doing well and you have a bad wrist seems strange to stop/think adrenalin wid carry u over the line?? far from me to criticise anyone that goes in a ring at that levelbut pain must be part n parcel of it/the victory the goal?

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