Ricky Burns will resist demands for a rematch with Jose Gonzalez after successfully defending his WBO world lightweight title for a third time in Glasgow on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old unbeaten mandatory challenger from Puerto Rico had the reigning champion rocking in the seventh round, when he stepped into a punishing right hand but clung on to get back to his corner. Burns was three rounds down on all three judges’ scorecards and facing an uphill battle to get back on terms when Gonzalez, who had come into the fight unbeaten in 22 bouts, dramatically quit on his stool before the start of the 10th round with a wrist injury.
But despite calls from Gonzalez’s camp for a rematch, Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn is now believed to be looking at different options, with a clash with the IBF champion Miguel Vazquez or even the unbeaten American Adrien Broner in September both possibilities.
“I think we came before a very good fighter in Gonzalez,” Hearn said. “You never know how good they are going to be but he was very good and, under the circumstances, the only way Ricky was going to beat him was breaking his heart. I don’t know if he broke his hand but he broke his heart.
“I looked at Gonzalez two rounds before it [was stopped] and he was getting very, very tired. You have three rounds to win the world title and you pull out of it with a bad hand? I think there’s more to it than that.”
For his part, Burns, 30, acknowledged that he had lived on the edge for much of the fight but insisted he had learnt his lesson. “He did hurt me in the seventh round. He caught me with a good few shots and I had a quick look up and I could see the ref and he was having a good look. I think he was thinking about stopping it but I just fired straight back with my own punches,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult fight, we just didn’t know just how difficult or how awkward he was going to be. It is hard when you try to fight somebody who doesn’t want to commit. They make you miss and they make you pay and that’s what he was doing, stealing the rounds. I was getting caught with stupid shots on the counter, shots that I shouldn’t have been caught with. I think I learnt my lesson from that.”
It was also a night to remember for Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell, who beat Julio Ceja to become the new IBF world bantamweight champion in front of his hometown crowd at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The 27-year-old won a narrow points victory over the unbeaten Mexican and promoter Dennis Hobson said: “It’s great, he’s a special talent. The best thing is, he’s still improving; how scary is that?”