By Terence Dooley
On Friday, Dean Powell spoke to BoxNation, Sky channel 456, to inform Steve Bunce and Andy Kerr that Michael Katsidis, Ricky Burns, George Groves and Paul Smith all looked fit and well when making weight for FWP’s Bonfire Night show at Wembley Arena.
Katsidis and Burns each tipped the scales at 135lb for their interim WBO lightweight title fight, unofficially a bout to decide who will face Juan Manuel Marquez should the Mexican legend return to the division after his November 12th rubbermatch with Manny Pacquiao.
Burns is moving up a weight after netting the WBO super-featherweight belt with a barnstorming decision win over Roman Martinez last year. Although criticized for the caliber of opponent in subsequent defences, Burns registered a trio of Ws over Andreas Evensen, Joseph Laryea and Nicky Cooker whilst boiling himself down to the 130lb limit.
Indeed, Burns left nothing to chance at today’s weigh in. Carefully checking his weight moments before hitting the scales to ensure that he and trainer Billy Nelson had their margins right.
‘Rickster’, 32-2 (9), believes he can halt Michael’s fine form on British soil. ‘The Great’ has gone 2-0 in previous visits to these shores to register stoppage wins over Graham Earl and Kevin Mitchell, he is confident that he can do the business against Scotland’s finest.
Katsidis holds a 28-4 (23) record, his list of losses is a who’s who of the division, including a reverse to Marquez for the full title, yet there is a sense that the former interim titlist may be creaking a little as he enters his thirties and after so many tough fights.
Powell in particular feels that Burns will shock Katsidis come tomorrow night’s Wembley Arena clash. “Everyone weighed in OK. Ricky Burns looked absolutely tremendous. Both Groves and Smiths were just inside the weight so there were no issues which is always reassuring,” he stated when speaking to Bunce.
“Katsidis is getting old, he’s had some tough fights in the last eighteen months and eventually your body says, ‘I’m not doing it anymore’. He still looked well, very strong and tough but this business is about timing and hopefully we’ve got the timing right on this one.”
Adding: “He has had two real tough fights since he fought Kevin Mitchell eighteen months ago. He’s eighteen months older and it gets harder to make that weight.”
George Groves defends his British and Commonwealth belts against Paul Smith on the Wembley bill, the ‘Saint’ told me earlier this week that it was refreshing to engage in a pre-fight build up minus the rancor that characterized his last fight, a slender decision win over James DeGale in May.
Smith came in at 167lb, the champion weighed 167.75lbs. Both showed a healthy amount of respect according to Powell. “They’re both good professionals,” Dean’s response to Andy Kerr’s question of whether there was any bad blood on display.
“I’ve know Paul for a long time, he’s a great character without a bad bone in his body. I’ve only got to know George recently – he’s a good pro who just wants to get on with his job. It is a fight for the professionals tomorrow night.”
Smith, 29, holds a 31-2 (17) slate, the ‘Real Gone Kid’ held the Lonsdale belt before losing to DeGale in December of last year. However, the Liverpudlian has since joined Joe Gallagher’s thriving stable and looks a rejuvenated figure.
Groves earned plaudits for his tense victory over bitter rival DeGale. He is 13-0 (10) and riding high. The 23-year-old Londoner is a quietly confident character and the match up could overshadow the WBO title clash if it catches fire.
“Paul’s been there and got the t-shirt. This is probably his last shot at the big time where George’s fresh and can come again. I’ve got to know him through speaking to Adam [Booth] and he’s a very proud person,” Powell’s final words on the clash.
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