“In your opinion Kevin Mitchell is a puncher,” barks the acclaimed trainer. “He’s only a puncher against opponents who are there to be hit. John Murray, by his own admission, isn’t the hardest guy to catch and he was ideal foil for Mitchell."
"Someone with Ricky’s brains and intelligence is a different proposition altogether. Katsidis and Martinez hit a lot harder than Mitchell, so we’ve seen it all before. I acknowledge that when Kevin is allowed, his offence can be effective."
“But that is when he’s allowed,” repeats the trainer with purpose.
Changing tact this reporter asked the twenty nine year old Burns to address the rumour that American sensation, Adrien Broner, could be installed as his mandatory challenger.
“Broner is a good fighter,” shrugs the champion. “He didn’t even attempt to make weight in his last fight but everyone knew he was huge for 130lbs. I was meant to fight Adrien last year but I had my own issues with making weight and that was the only reason that fight didn’t come off. I outgrew super feather, just as he has now, but if he’s my mandatory at lightweight then it would be a great fight to watch.”
“We need to see what happens on September 22nd first.”
Domestically there have been rumblings of Scott Harrison meeting Burns in an all Scottish world title fight. It must be said, however, that such speculation has been fuelled by reporters who don’t list boxing as their chosen specialised subject.
The word “premature” in relation to a Burns vs. Harrison match-up is a gross understatement.
“I like Scott and hope he does well for himself,” states Burns in earnest. “He had his first fight in seven years but the opponent wasn’t up to much so you can’t take anything from that. We’ll find out a lot more once he’s stepped up and I heard a rumour that he could be going in with John Murray on the undercard at the SECC.”
“That would be a test and then some.”
Ricky Burns faces a real challenge himself on September 22nd and by all accounts he is relishing the prospect. These are exciting times for the Scot who is slowly gaining the respect he deserves and for the first time, in a big fight, he has been installed as favourite.
“I think he is slowly getting the credit he deserves,” states Billy Nelson with a smile. “By any reasonable person’s admission Ricky Burns is an improving fighter. Could the same be said about every top fighter in Britain? I don’t think so!”
“Ricky is the best all-rounder in the UK right now. I have no doubt whatsoever that he’ll win but he is also more than capable of stopping Mitchell!”
The last words were from the champion who kept it short and sweet on his prediction.
“I see a hard fought fight but Ricky Burns will retain – And Still!”
Burns v Mitchell will be Live and Exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) on Saturday 22nd September. Join at www.boxnation.tv.
Tickets, priced at £50, £75, £100, £150 and £200, are available from Eventim on 0844 249 1000 or online at www.eventim.co.uk and Ticket Soup on 0844 295 4000 or www.ticketSOUP.com
Follow Tom Gray on Twitter @tgraysecondsout