Crolla vs Burns: Kevin Mitchell reflects on his stoppage defeat to Ricky Burns in Glasgow

5 October 2017, 11:49

Ahead of Anthony Crolla taking on Ricky Burns, live on Sky Sports, we ask Kevin Mitchell to reflect on his clash with the Scottish favourite.

Mitchell travelled up to Glasgow in 2012 to challenge for Burns' WBO lightweight title, but was convincingly stopped in the fourth round, so he knows all too well what Crolla will be up against this Saturday...

How did your fight with Burns come about?

To be fair, I should have never been in with him, but I took the fight because I was literally skint so I thought let's get it on.

I thought I would go out there and have too much class, get him out between 8 and 12, but I was wrong to think I could share a ring with him, he's the ultimate professional.

So you feel you should have trained harder?

The thing is that now I am in the gym with Burns, I see how he lives and trains, how dedicated he is, putting the utmost effort into everything and that's the right way to do it.

He showed me proper training. I maybe should have retired three or four years earlier than I did, but Ricky and Tony Sims got a last few fights and wins out of me.

What was the build-up like to your fight?

It was all pretty civil ahead of our fight, of course nerves were there, but I had known Ricky for years.

When we were younger, coming through the ranks, we would always play Xbox together and our families knew each other - we're long-term friends.

Did he shock you in any way when you fought?

The biggest surprise was how physically strong he was, he was never going to box me, he wanted to take control, engage and have a proper fight.

He's so tough as well. He took Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo to points and they were tough fights, he was hurt, but he dug deep and he stayed in there.

How hard does Burns hit?

Ricky hits very hard both in sparring and in fights. It is lovely to watch him in the gym, almost every shot he puts in with power, even his jab.

In our fight, he dazed me and then after that, I never really got back.

How good is his defence?

You don't go the distance with Terence Crawford or go 12 with Ray Beltran when you've broke your jaw in the second if you have no defence.

Ricky's defence is world class and he is generally world class all-round for me.

Now Burns, at 34, faces Crolla, is age becoming a factor?

I really don't think so. He's improved massively from when I boxed him and Tony Sims is brilliant for him.

He loves it down here in Essex, being around all the other lads in the gym, it is a great environment and he's the perfect role model.

Do you make him favourite against Crolla then?

I actually find it crazy that they have Burns as an underdog. Burns, although he has more miles on the clock, he has a lot more experience, especially at world level.

It could be a fight-of-the-year contender this fight. These two won't bad mouth each other, they just want to go to war and put on a great show, they will be ruthless in there and then shake hands after.

Watch Anthony Crolla against Ricky Burns, Sam Eggington faces Mohamed Mimoune, Robbie Barrett battles Lewis Ritson and Conor Benn against Nathan Clarke from 7pm on Sky Sports Action.

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