Burns, Wlodarczyk Bring Hometown Heat: Pre-Report Card

by Cliff Rold

On a weekend where U.S. fans anticipate the replay of eleven long rounds and one really fast one, fan abroad are treated to two intriguing main events in the Lightweight and Cruiserweight divisions.

In one, fans will be treated to a U.K. showdown between a talent well on the rise in recent years and a man trying to show he’s more than a bad knockout loss.  In the other, a challenger attempts to avenge what looked like a win but was not.

It’s a full day of boxing exhibiting one place where globalization can be called nothing but a success.

Let’s go to the report cards.

The Ledgers

Ricky Burns
Age: 29
Title: WBO Lightweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: WBO Super Featherweight (2010-11, 3 Defenses)
Height: 5’10
Weight: 135 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 131.8 lbs.
Hails from: Coatbridge, Scotland, U.K.
Record: 34-2, 9 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #4 at Lightweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 5-0, 2 KO (6-0, 2 KO including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 4 (Alex Arthur, Roman Martinez, Nicky Cook, Paulus Moses)


Kevin Mitchell
Age: 27
Titles: 1st Title Shot
Height: 5’8
Weight: 135 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 135.55 lbs.
Hails from: Dagenham, Essex, U.K.
Record: 33-1, 24 KO, 1 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #8 at Lightweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 0-1, 1 KOBY including interim title fights
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Sebastian Zbik)

Pre-Fight: Speed – Burns B+; Mitchell B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Burns C; Mitchell B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Burns B; Mitchell B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Burns A; Mitchell B

While neither man is a defensive wizard, Burns has shown real improvement since moving into the title ranks.  His guard is aided by effective combination punching, including consistent work to the body, and a ready jab.  He was able to blunt the offense of Michael Katsidis and keep Moses from getting off by getting off first.

Mitchell also has an effective, if more deliberate, jab and brings a snappy right behind it.  His loss to Katsidis isn’t the negative some might assume it.  Katsidis can hurt anyone he catches; he just didn’t catch Burns much.  Burns doesn’t have the power of Katsidis so Mitchell’s task is to outbox the Scot and he’s capable.  If he can keep Burns guessing and on the outside, his chances of doing so increase greatly.

Keeping the champion at bay is the same task to be found at Cruiserweight.

Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Age: 31
Titles: WBC Cruiserweight (2010-Present, 3 Defenses)
Previous Titles: IBF Cruiserweight (2006-07)
Height: 6’1
Weight: 199 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 198.8 lbs.
Hails from: Piaseczno, Poland
Record: 46-2-1, 33 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #4 at Cruiserweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 5-1-1, 1 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 3 (Steve Cunningham, Giacobbe Fragomeni, Danny Green)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Steve Cunningham)


Francisco Palacios
Age: 35
Titles/Previous Titles: None
Height: 6’2
Weight: 195 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 198.25 lbs.
Hails from: Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Record: 21-1, 13 KO
BoxingScene Rank: Unrated
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 0

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Kryzysztof Wlodarczyk)

Pre-Fight: Speed – Wlodarczyk B-; Palacios B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Wlodarczyk B; Palacios C+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Wlodarczyk B-; Palacios B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Wlodarczyk B; Palacios B 

Palacios, at 35, doesn’t fight like a one getting up in years and can be expected to use many of the same tactics he did in the first Wlodarczyk fight.  Fans who saw that one knows it came with a whiff of controversy, maybe even the scent of home cooking.  Wlodarczyk is tough to beat on the cards in his native Poland.

Palacios switches from southpaw to orthodox in spots and is wise is using his legs.  That may not have appealed on the road against a natural aggressor.  Wlodarcyzk is not particularly swift of hand or foot but he is steady in pressing his foes and takes what he can get inside.  The risk here could be the first outcome.  The pressure is on Palacios to do more offensively, to force the judges hand.  If he does that, he risks giving Wlodarczyk more opportunities to make it a rough night.

The Picks

Fighting in Glasgow and Wroclaw, it’s hard not to favor the reigning titlists this weekend.  Both men will have the crowd on their side against opponents who may feel the need to push with their backs against the wall.

At Lightweight, Burns’ superiority inside should be the difference.  Mitchell isn’t going to keep him off all night and Burns is very good at letting his hands go when opponents try to get loose and make room.  Mitchell will have some success with his right hand, but it won’t be enough in what should be a crowd-pleasing full twelve rounds.  Burns by decision is the pick.

Steve Cunningham was able to turn a controversial loss into a win on a second trip to Poland years ago.  Palacios is good but not quite as complete a fighter as Cunningham.  Wlodarczyk will do better this time and, even if there is argument on the final scores, it should be enough to snare another title defense.

Report Card Picks 2012: 48-16

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by PRBOXINGCOTTO on 09-22-2012

The wizard will beat this bum easy again hopefully he doesn't get robbed warrrr mitchell

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (1)
Top Headlines Kyril Relikh vs. Eduard Troyanovsky Showdown is Ordered Danny Roman vs. Moises Flores Must Happen By June, Says WBA Arum Wants Ramirez, Prograis to Take Interim Fights on Same Card Michael Conlan Hopes To Fight in Belfast on June Date Kovalev-Marcus Browne Deal Done for HBO Bout; Date Not Set Arum: Felix Verdejo Very Disappointing; It's a Lack of Discipline Felix Valera, Luis Lebron Grab Knockout Wins in Santo Domingo Sam Soliman, Wes Capper Fight To a Twelve Round Draw Ryuya Yamanaka Retains WBO Strap, Canizales Wins WBA Belt Photos: Gvozdyk Earns WBC Shot, Michael Conlan Excites Crowd Joe Joyce-Dereck Chisora Likely To Be Confirmed For Bellew-Haye Photos: Jose Ramirez Breaks Down Amir Imam For WBC Belt Roach: Linares Has Fight Left in Him; Might Be Too Old for Loma Photos: Antonio Lozada Drills, Stops Felix Verdejo in Shocker Photos: Joe Joyce With Crushing One-Punch KO of Donnie Palmer CompuBox: Jose Ramirez's Pressure, Power Shots Was Difference Robert Helenius Wins Split Decision Over Yury Bykhautsou Gvozdyk: I Want The Stevenson vs. Jack Winner in My Next Fight! Giovanni Cabrera Mioletti Shocks Ray Lampkin With KO in Two Lozada: I Knew I Would KO Felix Verdejo, I Went For it in Tenth Cristian Mijares Gets Stoppage Win Over Fernando Saucedo Jaime Munguia Knocks Out Johnny Navarrete in The Third Roach: Ramirez Won Every Round, 2 Judges Should Be Investigated! Don King: Imam Didn't Throw Enough, Ramirez Was Relentless Michael Conlan Demolishes David Berna in Two Rounds Jose Ramirez Lands Gold, Decisions Amir Imam For WBC Title Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Gvozdyk Wins Tough Decision Over Amar, in Line For WBC Shot Ramirez: I'm Ready To Fight Best, No Matter What Critics Think Yeison Cohen Passes Away After KO Loss Earlier This Month Antonio Lozada Drops, Stops Felix Verdejo in Tenth Round Joe Joyce Destroys Donnie Palmer With Big Knockout in One Christopher Diaz Wins by TKO, Rodriguez Suffers Hand Injury Jose Pedraza Sheds Rust, Pounds Out Decision Over Rodriguez Whittom Dies After Being in 10 Month Coma Following KO Loss McKinley: Ramirez Doesn't Have Power, Imam By Far Best Opponent Danny O'Connor, Steve Claggett To Collide at House of Blues Roach: Imam Isn't Anything Special; Ramirez Should Stop Him Virgil Hunter Hospitalized Due To Health Scare, Recovering Jose Ramirez: I Learned So Much Working With Pacquiao, Cotto

Latest Active Forum Threads