The May 11th main-event between Ricky Burns and Jose Gonzalez will undoubtedly be remembered as being one of the strangest endings to a fight in recent memory. In the 12-round title clash between the two lightweights, Burns was finally able to put an end to an eight month lay-off that was brought along by his shuffling of promoters. Although not the Adrien Broner (26-0, 22 knockouts)or Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13 knockouts) fight that many had hoped for, Jose Gonzalez was embraced as an interesting, albeit fairly untested, challenger for Burns’ WBO championship.
At the sound of the opening bell it would be interesting to see just how Gonzalez would deal with the raucous hometown crowd that had come to cheer on Burns. To put it simply, Gonzalez passed this early test with flying colors. From the first round all the way to the seventh, Gonzalez managed to put on an absolute clinic against the champion. With superior footwork, booming power, and a seemingly un-blockable jab, Gonzalez was able to hurt Burns both early and often. This would lead to increasing frustration amongst the champion and his corner, and it was especially visible after he would recklessly lunge in only to find himself at the wrong end of a Gonzalez counter.
As the fight progressed, Burns was beginning to dig himself into hole that he wouldn’t able to emerge from. Especially after an exciting 7th round which saw Gonzalez brutalize the young champion along the ropes before Burns answered back with a booming shot of his own. Sensing the urgency of the situation, Burns came out aggressive in the 8th and 9th rounds in an attempt to erase any lead that the undefeated Puerto Rican might have established. This was especially effective considering Gonzalez appeared to be taking an active breather as he sensed the significant lead he held of the Scot. With only two rounds under his belt, Burns answered the bell while Gonzalez remained sitting in his corner. Before anyone could gather what was really happening referee Russel Mora waved an end to the fight as Burns was elated in managing to walk away with his title.
What made the conclusion of the bout both frustrating and bizarre was the fact that Gonzalez had quit on his stool when he was just three rounds away from winning his first major fight and title in the lightweight division. Although he blamed his decision on a broken wrist that he had sustained during the bout, it was an odd and potentially costly decision in regards to his future. With this hard-“earned” victory, Burns will undoubtedly find himself in another big fight. Just the fact that he finally managed to look vulnerable and fairly uncomfortable in a fight will be enough to goad one of the lightweight division’s bigger names into a future clash. As far as Gonzalez’ future is concerned, things are much more murky. Although he showcased all of the talent in the world, his decision to quit the fight when victory seemed all but guaranteed will undoubtedly haunt the Puerto Rican contender for the rest of his career.