Burgos takes on Gusev
Story & photo by Felipe Leon
As you cross the border from San Diego, Calif., into Tijuana, Mexico, to the west, you will find rolling hills invaded with neighborhoods all the way to the nearby ocean. On a non descriptive street just off the legendary Revolution Avenue, a lost tourist just might miss the Azteca Gym located next to an ice cream parlor and down a set of steps to a dungeon-like setting.
The gym, which has been the home of former two time jr. middleweight champion Alejandro "Terra" Garcia and is also where three-time welterweight champion Antonio Margarito shadow boxes when he trains at home, is also where the WBC No. 3 ranked featherweight and newly crowned WBC CABOFE champion Juan Carlos Burgos (21-0, 15 KOs) prepares himself for his next challenge this Friday night as he takes on Vyacheslav Gusev (16-1, 3 KOs) of Prokopyevsk, Russia, in the main event of Thompson Boxing's "New Blood IV" at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario.
The 21-year-old is coming off what many thought was going to be his biggest test yet in the hard hitting Tijuana veteran Omar Lizarraga but Burgos made short work of “Calilla” when he stopped him in the second round to capture his most recent title.
"I always prepare myself one hundred percent. I thought that fight was going to be a little bit tougher, a little bit more difficult because of Lizarraga's style who is a boxer-puncher," Burgos states pensively. "The truth is I was surprised once I dropped him the two times. He wasn't able to recuperate. I thought it was going to be a tougher fight but thank God that it ended quickly and I didn't come out hurt."
"I think it was my aggressiveness against him. I knew that he was a fighter that hit hard and I was aware of that," Burgos comments on the key to victory against Lizarraga. "The couple of times that he was able to connect, I felt his punch. I think it was my aggressiveness and my conditioning that helped me in that fight."
Not long after his defeat of Lizarraga, Burgos issued a challenge of the current WBC featherweight champ Takahiro Aoh.
"We did not hear anything from him. What we have heard is that Israel Vazquez is going to go up to featherweight and he will get the opportunity since he is a champion emeritus. All I can do is wait and that is ok, I will wait until it is my turn, I will just keep working, keep gaining experience so when it is my turn to face the world champion I will be ready."
Since Lizarraga fought out of Burgos' hometown of Tijuana, he knew the ins and outs of his last opponent's style but that is just not the case of the man that he will be defending his title against on Friday night.
"We don't anything about him, just that he is tall. We are going to work the first couple of rounds and see what he brings and based on that we are going to display what we worked on in camp," Burgos says confidently. "Right now I can't lose; I am ranked at #3 in the world and right now a defeat... I just don't think about that."
The fact that Burgos and his team have not seen any footage of his once defeated rival is not a fact that Burgos, the nephew of former Jr. flyweight champion Victor Burgos, dwells on.
"We have not seen anything of him but I think that is better. Sometimes you can see a video and feel over confident of your opponent's style. At least that is what works for me."
Gerardo Espinoza who trains Burgos, seconds the motion.
"The truth is we don't know anything about him. The only thing I do know is that he is Russian and that he has only lost once. Burgos is well prepared and I know that we are going to win," Espinoza says. "We are not nervous since we never know anything about the opponents. The last one we did know about because it was Lizarraga and I knew that we were going to win. Of this opponent we don't know anything but we are confident that we are going to win."
What "Mini" Burgos has heard is that Gusev is known to have an extensive amateur background behind the former Iron Curtain and many regional European titles. The fact that Burgos amateur credentials do not match up is of no concern to the lanky undefeated Tijuanense.
"Many boxing critics think that not having an extensive amateur career is a disadvantage but I am not interested in that," he states. "I have prepared myself at 100% for him or any other fighter. Inside the ring it will only be he and I and we will see who the best is."
Just as Burgos does not think that Gusev's amateur career is an edge for the Russian over him, the fact that he has created a home in Ontario, CA, having fought there in five out of his last seven fights, is not in his favor according to Burgos.
"I think that doesn't matter. It is only he and I in that ring and if I am the local fighter or the visiting one, that is not important. We are going to show what we worked on in our camp and we are going to show why I am the #3 in the world."
Burgos has not fought since the end of the February and has not been forced to go the distance since November of last year when he defeated Jesus Salvador Perez with an eight round unanimous decision. Burgos and his team have worked on improving his defense and negating mistakes they noticed against Lizarraga.
"We have worked a lot on to fix my mistakes from the past. One of them being the fact that I don't take advantage of my height against shorter fighters," he states candidly. "I think that the fans are going to see a new Juan Carlos Burgos with new skills because I think that after each fight you grow and this fight will not be the exception."
As far as how or when his next challenge might end, the hard hitting Burgos makes no promises.
"From what I can see from his record, he looks to be a fighter that boxes, he only has three knockouts so he doesn't seem to be a brawler. I think it might go the ten rounds although I would like it to end in a KO but I am not going to look for it, I just want to give a good show for the fans."
"I can't predict what is going to happen in this fight but we know that he is going to win, perhaps not by knock out but he going to win."
With the win, Burgos is sure to climb the WBC ranking ladder and a title shot could not be far away but the young Burgos is not worried, he knows his time will come in due time.
"To deserve an opportunity for a world title, you must work hard and win it in the ring. I am working hard to deserve that opportunity, I am still young and I want to gain more experience before I go for a title," he says. "I think that I need more experience. I think I need 3-4 more fights, I am still young, I am not anxious, I know that with my hard work the opportunity will come."
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For more info on the San Diego/Tijuana boxing scene, please visit www.SDFights.com
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For more coverage on the San Diego/Tijuana scene, please check out SDFights.com