Sober Mitchell ready for Burns night as he faces old friend in Glasgow bout
21:30 GMT, 21 September 2012
Where better for a good old-fashioned brawl than Glasgow on a Saturday night Mix in some traditional Anglo-Scottish rivalry and the punch-up should be even feistier.
Although Ricky Burns is from Coatbridge and Kevin Mitchell an East Londoner they are pals in normal life, but for an hour or so this evening they will be Auld Enemies.
Had they been forced into this scrap a few months ago strong drink would have inflamed the situation.
Ready for action: Kevin Mitchell has kicked the drink
Mitchell, however, has renounced alcohol in the knowledge that he is entering, ironically, the Last Chance Saloon.
While his mate Ricky was slipping soberly under the radar to win his world championship, Mitchell knew he had to drag himself out of the bar if he were ever to realise his life-long title ambition.
So now their differing paths cross in the ring amid anticipation that this could be as explosive as the night 22 years ago when Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn produced an British world title classic.
If it is to live up to that exalted billing, the challenger for the WBO lightweight crown must be Mitchell the committed fighting man who pounded tough John Murray into submission, not Kev the matey lad from the local who blew a gasket against Michael Katsidis.
Mitchell swears we will see the best of him, going so far as to threaten to retire at 27 if he loses to his bruising buddy.
Friends: Mitchell and Ricky Burns are buddies outside of the ring
Since we can be sure that the dedicated Burns will turn up in prime condition let’s get ready to rumble, as American announcer Michael Buffer will excite all those in attendance at the SECC and the thousands watching on BoxNation television.
The contrasting styles are equally promising.
Mitchell at his best is an all-action fighting machine ready to go to war. Burns is the more complex technical boxer. Yet the challenger can box a bit, too, while the champion is willing to mix it when the going gets tough.
Both insist they will refuse to back down so much as an inch when it comes to the crunch.
Thus we are promised as fight as furious as it should be close. Burns has home advantage and the raucous atmosphere may give him a slight edge with the judges in the event of a close decision.
Tough to beat: Burns will have home support
Mitchell is burning up inside with the desire to become a world champion and he will not be intimidated by the patriotic Scottish crowd.
The extent of each man’s appetite for battle is likely to be decisive.
Burns will not want to disappoint his fans, let alone forfeit his hard-won title, and he is hungry to become recognised alongside such greats as Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt in the legend of the Scottish ring.
Mitchell, however, is ravenous for that belt. If his preparations have been as good as his word he is capable of putting a slightly early end to a wild night in Glasgow.
Burns-Mitchell is live on BoxNation via Sky Ch 437 and Virgin Ch 546