Saturday 7 September 2013: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Ricky Burns vs. Raymundo Beltran staredown

Television: SKY (UK), WealthTV (USA)
Time: 3:00PM ET / 12:00PM PT

WBO lightweight title
12 Rounds

Ricky Burns 36(11)-2 vs. Raymundo Beltran 28(17)-6

I respect both these fighters. They came up the hard way. Burns was never gifted a title and Beltran earned his title shot the proper way.

Burns is a 2 division titlist having held the WBO belt at super featherweight and now lightweight. In this day and age, that’s not that big of an achievement, but how he won those belts certainly is.

In his first shot at a title, Burns crawled off the canvas in Round 1 — then went to war against Roman Martinez. Martinez has since regained the WBO featherweight title, and Burns remains his only loss.

Then when moving to lightweight, Burns took on the indomitable brawler Michael Katsidis, and thoroughly outboxed him.

Burns has now had 8 title fights and won every one of them. Not all of them have come easy. In his last fight, it looked as though Jose Gonzalez was going to put an end to Burns’ title reign. Then Burns roared back, used his superior conditioning to outfox Gonzalez. After Round 9, Gonzalez quit. He claimed a broken wrist — but I suspect Burns broke his heart.

That won’t happen to Beltran because the man is all heart. His record, which shows 6 losses, doesn’t tell the story. 4 of those losses were arguable — and his last one was an outright robbery! In that fight, Beltran decisively outboxed Luis Ramos Jr. but wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt, perhaps because promoter muscle was behind Ramos.

But Beltran moved on from that loss and took on Hank Lundy and Ji-Hoon Kim, and showed his class. There is no doubt Beltran has skill. This comes with the territory when you’re Manny Pacquiao’s chief sparring partner.

Can Beltran leave Scotland with the title? If it’s close, it’s going to Burns — partially because he’s the hometown hero, but also because Burns knows how to dig in the trenches and steal a win. Still, it’s possible Beltran can pull this off.

Prediction: Burns by SD.

Vacant WBC International Silver cruiserweight title
12 Rounds

Stephen Simmons 8(4)-0 vs. David Graf 10(7)-0

Another Scot on the card is Simmons. A heavyweight until recently, Simmons has a massive frame. Having watched Simmon on YouTube, my immediate impression is that though he fights in a crowd-pleasing style, he’s quite raw.

Still, he’s earned his undefeated record by a out-hustling his opponents and turning on the power when it counts. Whether this will work with more talented opponents is an excellent question — one which will be answered after this bout with Graf.

Of the two, Graf has taken on better competition in Jozsef Nagy. He also has a higher KO ratio. Even so, though Graf has fought more opponents than Simmons, Simmons will be — by far — his best opponent.

The question here is: which fighter will step up to the plate.

Prediction: Graf by KO10

8 Rounds

Scott Cardle 11(2)-0 vs. Gary Fox 11(2)-1

Neither guy seems to have a whole lot of power. Even so, this should be an entertaining fight.

Cardle is a good classical boxer. He’s always moving on his toes, sticking and moving, with excellent head movement. As slick as Brits come, Cardle wins by hitting and not getting hit.

Fox, on the other hand, gets by with pressure and throwing everything but the kitchen sink. This once resulted in him getting outboxed by a fighter who was 2-10-2, but Fox has evidently used that loss as a learning experience. Since then, he’s won 9 fights in a row.

The favourite should be Cardle since he’s won against Maxi Hughes and Miguel Aguilar. Fox has rarely fought anyone with a winning record.

Prediction: Cardle by UD.

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