By James Slater: Tonight, before a sold-out and very passionate Glasgow crowd, reigning WBO lightweight king Ricky Burns turned in what was arguably the finest performance thus far in his ever improving career. Halting a game Kevin Mitchell in the 4th-round, Burns made surprisingly easy-looking work of what was widely expected to be a tough battle.
Dropping Mitchell with a sweet left hook that landed flush on the Dagenham man’s jaw in the 4th, 29-year-old Burns proved that he can bang. Dropping a badly stunned but full of heart Mitchell for a second time when a series of rights clubbed the 27-year-old headfirst to the mat, Burns then poured it on as Mitchell, trying to fight back, was stuck on the ropes and in bad shape. The referee, Terry O’Connor, really was left with no choice but to dive in, halting the exciting rumble at the 2-minutes and 59-seconds mark of the 4th.
Now 35-2(10), Burns seemingly has the world at his feet. His right hand looking strong, accurate and powerful, the always immaculately conditioned Coatbridge warrior sure looked like one of the best 135-pounders in all of boxing tonight. Mitchell came to fight, and he won the opening session as the defending champ looked a little tense. There was also some thrilling trading in the 2nd and 3rd-rounds, temporarily letting fans believe they would get the classic war they had both anticipated and hoped for. In the end though, we were treated instead to a classic performance; possibly one that will allow Burns to win 2012’s FOTY award.
Promoter Frank Warren says “The Rickster” will be back in December, and the word is Burns will soon head to Las Vegas, where he will train for a spell at the gym of the great Floyd Mayweather Junior. Burns said post-fight that his ultimate goal is to fight for The Ring Magazine belt. Burns also has hopes of getting himself a big unification bout. On the strength of tonight’s showing, there is no doubt Ricky is fully deserving of both.
As for Mitchell, who fell to 33-2(24) it looks like it may be a long road back. Mitchell had excuses for his stoppage loss to Michael Katsidis, but he was simply wiped out by the better man tonight. And they say Ricky Burns can’t punch!
Bring on the rest of the 135-pound division.
Other boxing results on the card:
Bradley Saunders TKO 3 Ivan Godor
Michael Roberts TKO 4 Gavin Reid
John Thain PTS 6 Lee Noble
Stephen Simmons PTS 6 Tayar Mehmed
John Simpson KO 2 Dai Davies