Michael Gomez-Ricky Burns Grudge-Match Tomorrow Night - Who Wins?

by James Slater - Ever since their Commonwealth super-featherweight title fight was announced some weeks back, rivals Ricky Burns, the defending champion, and Michael Gomez, the challenger, have been at each others throats. Making sure the security personnel in attendance at press conferences, photo-shoots, public appearances, etc have worked hard for their money in keeping a watchful eye out in case things got too nasty, the pair of 130-pounders have shown real dislike for one another - Gomez especially appearing to have something against his opponent..

Well, after all the hype and all the bad blood the two men finally meet where it counts tomorrow night - in the ring. Today, however, during the bout's final press conference, the two fighters swapped a few more insults; having to be separated as a result.

As has been reported on Frank Warren's website, Scotland's Burns spoke about how Gomez tried to get in his face today.

"People can mouth off all they want, but as soon as you get in the ring, all that goes out of the window," Burns said today. "He is trying to intimidate me and one hundred percent it's not working. I do my talking in the ring. I don't need to put a circus on.

"When we get in the ring he can put his face in my face all he wants, but I'll be able to do something about it."

As for Manchester man Gomez, he says tomorrow night's battle is "personal."

"I don't like him, I'm going to take this kid to school," Gomez declared. "I can out-box him, out-fight him and out-manoeuvre him. It's personal with all my opponents but I want this one more than usual. I have prepared for twelve hard rounds.

"I want to punch his head in and I've got the heart and the tools to do it."

Now, the talking must stop and the real stuff must start. Who wins in Glasgow, Scotland tomorrow evening?

25-year-old Burns is the far fresher man, he has never been stopped and he has nowhere near the amount of wear and tear on his body that the 31-year-old Gomez has on his. But on the other hand, Gomez has a huge edge in experience. Having been in with top names from the sport such as Amir Khan, Alex Arthur, Carl Johanneson and the extremely dangerous Leva Kirakosyan, "The Predator" has warred with the best. This is not to suggest Burns has not met good fighters - indeed, both men have been in with Johanneson, Gomez being stopped in the 6th, Burns losing a 12-round UD. Also, in compiling his 25-2(6) record, Burns has won his last ten fights and is on a real roll now that he's both won and defended his Commonwealth title.

It must be noted that Gomez, currently 38-9(25) has been stopped some six times; how much more punishment can the tough guy take? Yet another question may be the two men's respective punching power, though - just 6 KO's for the champion, 25 for the challenger. Will Burns be able to hurt his man?

The always colourful Gomez has said he's trained for 12 hard rounds, but will the fight go that far? I think it will, and if it does the younger, faster, less worn Burns will win. However, a fearsome warrior who often fails to realise when he's beaten, Gomez is a fighter who can never, ever be written off.

Those fans who are either in attendance or are tuning in tomorrow are sure to get a damn good scrap, that much is sure.

Article posted on 26.03.2009

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