In a surprisingly tougher than expected bout Scotland's Ricky Burns (36-2, 10) successfully defended his WBO Lightweight title as Puerto Rico's Jose A Gonzalez (22-1, 17) retired on his stool at the end of the 9th round.
The bout started badly for Burn's who genuinely struggled to hit his tricky opponent clean and although the opening round was close it was Gonzalez who looked like the man who had the skills edge as well as the power edge.
Gonzalez managed to quickly grow in to the bout and appeared to clearly take rounds 2 and 3 with his superior work both offensively and defensively. Not only was Gonzalez slipping almost everything Burns was throwing at him but he was also landing his own heavy shots from either hand with genuine ease. It was looking like Gonzalez wasn't the challenger stepping up a level but was the champion proving his status as one of the best.
It wasn't until round 4 that Burns managed to have any sort of sustained offense as he managed to land some of his own firepower, though the challenger once again seemed to claim the round whilst looking supremely relaxed and incredibly confident. Burns built on his success of round 4 and seemed to just eek out round 5 as he finally managed to have some continued success, despite a spirited assault by Gonzalez late that may have stole him the round on the score cards.
Burns' momentum was short lived as Gonzalez stormed round 6 and seemed to rock Burns as the Scottish fighter continued to struggle with the Puerto Rican who had been able to out jab Burns at a distance and out slug with him up close. In all honesty it appeared as if Gonzalez could win the bout by either boxing with his sharp jab or by stopping Burns with his devastating uppercuts up close.
By the start of round 7 things were looking awful for Burns but the Scot refused to quit and really took the fight to Gonzalez as the two men traded major shots throughout the round. It seemed there were several times in which Burns was about to go down but he just refused and fired back in what was one of the round's of the year. Neither man seemed willing to give up the round as Burns finally started to have some major success (though was forced to eat heavy shots in return).
Although both men had survived round 7 it appeared to be the start of the end and Gonzalez looked notably slower and less active in round 8. Originally it seemed as if he had needed a breather and took the round off though with round 9 going the same way it was obvious that there was something wrong with Gonzalez. it later turned out that Gonzalez had a suspected broken wrist which sadly forced him to retire in prior to the start of round 10.
Although some have said that Gonzalez "quit" (comments which have been made by British fighters Paul Smith and Tony Bellew amongst others) the injury seems to have been legit and I'm sorry to say those questioning Gonzalez really should hang their heads in shame. The guy had made Burns look like an amateur for the better part of 7 rounds and will certainly come again. For Ricky Burns this was certainly a lucky escape.