By Jake Donovan
Promoter Frank Warren continues to go all in for the September 22 event at the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow.
The show’s headliner pits lightweight titlist Ricky Burns against Kevin Mitchell in what many view as a can’t miss entry in the Fight of the Year sweepstakes. The two warriors will now have the honor of hearing their names belted out by legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer.
"When offered the chance to come to Glasgow for this fight I jumped on it,” said Buffer, who is in Russia this weekend for Vitali Klitschko’s heavyweight title defense versus Manuel Charr. "When two of the best in a division agree to fight each other, I want to be there.”
Buffer’s last boxing-related trip across the pond came in July, when he served as emcee for the heavyweight clash between David Haye and Dereck Chisora.
The defending titlist, Burns is giddy over Buffer’s inclusion makes an already highly anticipated event that much bigger, but promises to keep it professional the moment the bell rings.
"Buffer’s already a legend of the sport and it's an unbelievable honour that he's going to be introducing me in the biggest fight of my career and saying those immortal five words,” says Burns (34-2, 9KO), of course referring to Buffer’s ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’ catchphrase. “As a kid watching all the big fights featuring some of the biggest boxers of all time like Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya, I always dreamed one day that he would announce one of my fights and here it is.
“In years to come, no matter how great the fight is between me and Mitchell, I think I will just be rewinding the part where he introduces me! I won't be star struck in the ring though, at the end of the day it will be me and Mitchell fighting it out and it's going to be a war."
Burns makes the second defense of the lightweight belt he acquired in a 12-round points win over Michael Katsidis last November. The reign comes on heels of a run of more than a year as a super featherweight titlist, which began with an upset win over then-unbeaten Roman Martinez.
Mitchell (33-1, 24KO) picked up the pieces in his career after suffering his lone defeat to date, a crushing third round knockout at the hands of Katsidis in May ’10. Only two fights have followed, but the run was more about quality than quantity – one of the wins came in handing John Murray his first defeat with an eighth round knockout last July.
Mitchell hadn’t fought since the Katsidis loss, an inactive period of 14 months heading into the showdown with Murray. The Brit was thought to serve as a lamb being brought to slaughter. Instead, he turned the tables and punched his way into title contention.
The clash of boxer versus puncher prompts Buffer to recall fond memories of another legendary battle from Scotland some four decades ago. Though he has called several of the biggest fights in boxing history, high among his all-time favorite fights is one in which he merely served as a fan – the Jan. 1973 all-Scot clash between Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt
"I remember watching two of the all-time greats, both from Scotland, in the lightweight division, Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt, on television back in the '70s. They were exciting fighters to watch and the lightweights of that era were among the best so their fights were, to say the least, extremely competitive.”
"Just like the night those legendary lightweights, Buchanan and Watt faced off in Glasgow almost 40 years ago, this will be more of the same. We will have the master boxer, Ricky Burns, versus the dangerous puncher, Kevin Mitchell. Let's get ready for the fireworks and LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!"
Buffer also insists that the fight atmosphere will overshadow anything witnessed in the States in recent memory.
“Forget about Las Vegas or Madison Square Garden as I expect nothing less than a roaring crowd and a great fight. After 30 years of announcing fights, I'm still a fan and still love the energy of a big time event like this one."
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox