Raymundo Beltran has a reputation as a brawler. Therefore, Ricky Burns needs to match this with equal power when the two meet up at the SECC Arena in Glasgow on Saturday night to decide the WBO lightweight title.
Burns' most recent fight, against Jose Gonzalez, was not the best display of the Glaswegian's skill. Burns was outboxed for much of the contest and looked to be beaten in the seventh round when the Puerto Rican had him on the ropes, unloading punches to the body as Burns began to buckle.
As Burns showed in his earlier fights, he again found a way to connect with some punches when the situation looked desperate. This rallied the crowd, who in turn gave Burns the belief to get himself back in the bout.
It was perhaps fortunate that Gonzalez conceded due to a wrist injury, as the Scot was behind on points going into that 10th round. As it was, Gonzalez remained in his seat, and Burns' unblemished record remained that way.
Beltran offers a different challenge—one that demands a better performance.
The Mexican boxer is both tough and experienced and will pose a much more powerful threat than Gonzalez. Whereas Gonzalez sat back and picked his moments to throw punches, Beltran will be happy to stand there and trade shots until someone goes down.
While this isn't necessarily a problem for Burns—who has proven over and over that he can take a hit—he will need to balance the aggression with technique and power as he faces his toughest opponent yet.
For his part, he has been putting in the necessary preparation. When speaking to Keir Murray at BBC Sport, Burns' trainer Billy Nelson outlined the intensity of his student leading up to the fight:
If the Ricky Burns that has been in the gym the last two weeks turns up on Saturday night, nobody in the world would beat him.
If Raymundo wants to get involved in a toe-to-toe, we will happily accommodate that. But the fundamental thing is going to be Ricky's speed - lightning speed, absolutely lightning. On occasions this week, it has just been a blur that's been hitting the pad.
While it's traditional for a boxer and his entourage to boast of incredible talent in the build-up to a fight, Burns has already demonstrated the assets described by Nelson.
He has power, pace and durability. He will need all three to emerge with his 22nd consecutive victory, the WBO championship belt held aloft once more.
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