By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
KEVIN MITCHELL is determined there will be no action replay of his last crack at a world title when he climbs into the ring tonight.
Londoner Mitchell meets WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns at the SECC in Glasgow, knowing that defeat could bring an end to his career.
The 27-year-old is still haunted by his nightmare defeat against Michael Katsidis two years ago in his only other tilt at a world title.
But he is convinced he can deliver the goods this time around against local hero Burns in front of a hostile 10,000 crowd.
He said: “I’ve worked like an animal. I want this world title and when I win it I’ll become a household name.
“I will become a superstar and that’s where I want to earn my money.
“If I lose, I would seriously have to consider giving up. If Burns defeats me, there would be no point in staying in the game.”
His bullish mood is in sharp contrast to the despair he showed after blowing his only other world title chance against Katsidis at Upton Park.
On that occasion he was aiming to claim the WBO interim title but his hopes were dashed after only three rounds.
Mitchell blames himself for that defeat, citing a poor build-up in which he was never fully focused.
He said: “I just wasn’t prepared mentally and had a lot of problems. I was an inexperienced young boy.
“As a man, I have come on bundles since then. This time round I’ve been training hard and am happy in myself.
“It’s probably my last big chance. There will be no repeat of what happened last time. I am really ready for this one because I know just how important it is for me.”
Burns, meanwhile, knows that Mitchell will test him to the limit.
The 29-year-old said: “This will be an extremely tough fight.
“I’m not really fussed what type of fight Kevin brings.
“If I can win by boxing back foot without taking any shots, then that’s what I’ll do.
“But I think there will almost certainly be times in this fight when we’ll have to trade.
“I feel so physically strong and aim to stamp my authority on the first few rounds. I’ve never claimed to be a one-punch knockout artist but I hit hard enough to prevent opponents charging through me.”
PREDICTION: It could turn into a toe-to-toe affair, with my vote going to Mitchell with a late stoppage.
• Burns v Mitchell is live on BoxNation (Sky Ch 437/ Virgin Ch 546) tonight from 7pm. Join at boxnation.com