Preview: Is Burns-Gonzalez Burns-Martinez Deja Vu?

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It seems like history is about to repeat itself when another Puerto Rican prospect Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez challenges Ricky Burns for the Lightweight title. Coming off a dominating TKO win against Kevin Mitchell in his last outing, Burns is once again put into the same light he once was in back in September of 2010 when he fought Roman “Rocky” Martinez for the Super Featherweight title; he still has his doubters. The man known as “Chelo” will be looking to exact revenge in a way against the Scotland native, and add another member in the rare company of current champions from the small island.

Back on that fateful night in 2010, Ricky Burns now 35-2 10 KO’s, was looked as just another opponent for Roman “Rocky” Martinez who was 24-0-1 16 KO’s; after being dropped in the first round, he proved the naysayers wrong. What most pundits focused on during the build up to that fight was the lack of power in the 28 wins by the Scotsman, but he made up for that in speed and skills as he battled back hard to earn himself a close unanimous decision victory to become a champion for the first time. Close to three year removed from his 130lb championship victory, Burns has successfully moved up and brought the same high level tactics with him along with some new found power that has kept his enemies at bay, and a couple on the canvas. Going into this bout this Saturday May 11th in his hometown, Burns has to remember his previous successes and use technique over force against the power punching Gonzalez.

Affectionately nick named “Chelo”, Jose Gonzalez comes into this bout largely untested but sporting an impressive 22-0 record with 17 KO’s. A quick search on Google brings you to some impressive videos of Gonzalez dispatching foes with concussive force, and it also directs you to his boxing record, which shows that he has power, but has only fought nearby his Toa Baja home against limited foes. Not to blame “Chelo” for the caliber of opponents he has faced off against, but he has progressively fought better boxers and has stepped up his game, the question is what he can do against a world class fighter, thousands of miles away from home. Gonzalez will have to use his reach and power to land his awkward shots if he plans on bringing the title home with him, if he can accomplish that he will not only impress the judges but all of the media who feels he’s unworthy.

The Lightweight division is still wide opened with the departure of Adrien Broner albeit temporary; and all of the real talent facing off at 140lbs. If Burns wins it forces U.S. and world talent to travel to Scotland and other parts of the U.K. to fight for a title, if Gonzalez wins, he has a better chance of showcasing his skills against a larger variety of opponents. My guess is that this fight could only go two ways, Gonzalez who can start fast will land something early and take his man out, or Burns will outbox him through some rough patches to get a victory, the fight will definitely bring drama.