Ricky Burns will come up against the epitome of a hungry fighter when he defends his WBO lightweight title against Raymundo Beltran at the SECC in Glasgow on Saturday night.
The 32-year-old challenger arrived in Scotland carrying the heavy baggage of childhood poverty from his Mexican birthplace of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, the memory of which has driven him on during his career.
Beltran has won 28 and lost six of his 34 bouts, most of which have taken place in the USA, and he is determined to make the most of his first world title shot.
“I really want this,” he said. “I have been working my whole life for this is. I come from a very poor family and it has been a hard road. Basically I had nothing. I had no food, no home, no electricity, nothing at all, that’s how I grew up.
“I started working at five years old picking on a plantation. I also worked with my grandpa planting corn. I didn’t like it but I did what I had to do.
“Most of the people who come from poverty, all we know is to work and survive and the only way to really make something of your life is boxing.
“I support my family from boxing. I made it myself to this point, no promoter made my career. With all that I have been through, that’s why I believe I am going to win this fight.”
Unlike many fighters who travel to a champion’s own backyard to fight, Beltran is unconcerned about the possibility of a hometown decision.
“I believe that the judges are going to be fair,” he said. “I think the people here want a fair fight, I can feel it. People here have made me very welcome and made me feel at home. Naturally they are going to support their fighter and I respect that. We are ready for 12 rounds but if the knockout comes, it comes. Hopefully I will be victorious.”
The Mexican, the sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, was also disinclined to start a war of words with Burns.
He said: “Ricky is a good fighter and a good champion and I have nothing but respect for him. He is a dangerous champion and I expect a very hard fight.”