Barry McGuigan backs Ricky Burns to upset Michael Katsidis

Former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan believes Coatbridge boxer Ricky Burns will confound the pundits and beat Michael Katsidis on Saturday night in his WBO title fight.

Speaking on BBC Scotland's Sport Nation, McGuigan said Burns will cope with the change in weight class and out-muscle his Australian opponent.

"It has a potential to be fight-of-the-year material," said McGuigan.

"Burns has become a very seasoned professional and a very good fighter."

The Scottish boxer insists he is coping well in the lightweight division and has been concentrating on his preparations for the interim title fight with Katsidis concentrate more on boxing and less on diet.

McGuigan believes that Burns will have had no trouble with "boiling down" to the necessary weight and Katsidis' extensive fight history will be to his disadvantage when the pair clash at Wembley Arena.

"Ricky has crammed into the weight, even though he's had a great deal of trouble doing it, he's stronger," said McGuigan.

"Katsidis is always interesting - there will be no surprises with him - he seeks and destroys - that's his attitude.

"The downside for Katsidis, is that he's had a lot of hard fights and there's a lot of wear and tear on him - that's going to play into Ricky Burns' hands, because he hasn't had a lot of heavy fights - he's kept himself nice and sharp and he's learned.

"All the aficionados will have Katsidis as the strong favourite - I think they're making a mistake - having the title wars that Katsidis has, one after the other, they don't go away.

"About 95% of fighters struggle to make weight - some more than others. I know Ricky has had monumental problems making superfeatherweight.

"He spars, and he's a consummate professional - he probably walks around at 11 and a half stone, then boils himself down to 9st 9lbs, but it won't have an effect on him.

"He'll be stronger."

Having defeated Graham Earl and Kevin Mitchell, Katsidis is seeking another victory over British opposition and McGuigan has warned that the Australian will be dangerous in the ring.

"I'm not losing sight of the fact that he's a considerable fighter, and he will hit the body and head," added the former champion.

"But he's not as good as he used to be, and I'm banking on the fact that he's had a lot of hard fights."

"Burns has got to be careful and keep things at long-range, and not get involved early in the fight."

You can hear the rest of the interview with Barry McGuigan on BBC Scotland's Sport Nation on Saturday 5 November at 0900 GMT on Radio Scotland 92-95FM and 810MW.

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