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Burns-Gonzalez: Ricky Was on Verge of Being Stripped

Ricky Burns was two hours from being stripped of his WBO lightweight title before finalising a bout with mandatory challenger Jose 'Chelo' Gonzalez, his promoter Eddie Hearn revealed.

The Scot, who has not fought since beating Kevin Mitchell in September last year, was told he must take on the undefeated Puerto Rican because of Burns' "failed opportunities" to defend the title he first won when he beat Michael Katsidis in November 2011.

The Matchroom Sport boss was given until midnight on Monday to strike a deal with Gonzalez or the WBO would seek purse bids from other parties.

But an agreement was reached and Coatbridge fighter Burns will now face a man who has won all 22 of his contests so far, 17 by knock-out, on May 11 at Glasgow's 10,000-capacity Emirates Arena.

Hearn - who signed two-weight world champion Burns earlier this month - said: "I don't think Ricky wants easy fights. That is something we sat down and spoke about. No disrespect to guys like Scott Harrison and Gavin Rees, they are not on the radar right now.

"People just assumed that they were the fights that were going to take place. But really, the bottom line came down to the fact they we didn't have a choice if we wanted to remain champion of the world.

"I looked at other organisations, I looked at other routes and we had a number of things up our sleeves.

"But the bottom line was that Ricky is one of only three world champions in Britain. To give that up after everything he has gone through to get those titles would be very hard to accept.

"He would have done it. We spoke about it and prepared him for that. But it was thanks to Ricky for his support and saying 'I will do whatever I have to do'.

"With two hours to go, though, we finally got the deal done."

Burns also has the threat of legal action from Frank Warren hanging over him after he terminated his contract with the promoter.

The 29-year-old walked away from their deal after his bout with Miguel Vazquez, originally scheduled for March 16, was postponed. That delay came after a planned December defence against Jose Ocampo was called off at short notice.

But despite the looming courtroom battle, Burns insists he has more pressing things to worry about.

"Eddie Hearn and my manager Alex Morrison have just told me to put it to the back of my mind and that they are dealing with it," he said.

"They have told me just to do what I do and concentrate on the fight. That's the most important thing for me, so I don't really know what's been happening with it.

"I'm still in the dark about it but hopefully it will get sorted soon.

"We've got the date set and an opponent lined up and that's the most important thing. If I've got other things on my mind it's me who is going to pay for it come fight night."

Burns has done some homework on his opponent but his focus will be on his own performance ahead of his eighth world-title fight.

He said: "I'm sure it's going to be a very tough fight. Gonzalez' record speaks for itself - 22 fights undefeated and 17 by knockout.

"So he is a big puncher. His name was mentioned to me last week so I had a wee look for him on YouTube. The only footage you can get of him is clips of him knocking people out.

"But that's it now, I won't watch anymore. I know it's going to be a tough fight. I'm going to prepare for whatever is going to happen on the night.

"It is going to be a very, very tough fight. But I've been in with big punchers before and I have proved I can take a good shot.

"My attitude to fighting has always been the same. A fight is a fight. It doesn't matter who it is against. My training regime won't change. I will give it 100 per cent in the gym every day.

"Obviously the way I fight, I'm good at adapting to different people's styles. I always say you can work out the game plans. Once I get the first round over, I can adjust to what my opponent is doing and then he can worry about me."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Cnota21 on 03-27-2013

[QUOTE=paulf;13184422]Oh jesus, whatever. They could have worked out a deal with him if they wanted to fight Vasquez, no need for stupid ass excuses like this. Gonzalez has never fought anyone in his life. Hopefully he can make it interesting.[/QUOTE]…

Comment by StillAlive2k on 03-26-2013

[QUOTE=The Weebler II;13184406]Any need for that?[/QUOTE] Sorry went a little bit to far!!! apologies

Comment by paulf on 03-26-2013

Oh jesus, whatever. They could have worked out a deal with him if they wanted to fight Vasquez, no need for stupid ass excuses like this. Gonzalez has never fought anyone in his life. Hopefully he can make it interesting.

Comment by Weebler I on 03-26-2013

[QUOTE=StillAlive2k;13184246]You dont want fight valsquez or broner, of course he was going get stripped!!! When it came time to prove yourself you ran back home!! [B]U scottish f a ggot[/B][/QUOTE] Any need for that?

Comment by PEBBLES! on 03-26-2013

how nice for Burns. another fiercely testing mando defence which will sit right up there with such awe-inspiring feats as Laryea RTD 7!

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