There is still a lot of life in the old dog on this evidence. Ricky Burns may be approaching the dusk of an illustrious career, but last night he had the unexpected opportunity to return to the lightweight competition, and the Coatbridge man grabbed him with both hands.
The 35-year-old is expected to fight in the United States next week. Instead, he was drafted to take Scotty Cardle in the Manchester Arena as the late successor to teammate Joe Cordina.
The lightweight fight on the undercard of the Oleksandr Usyk and Tony Bellew Cruiserweight Contest was scheduled for ten rounds, but Burns, in his 51st pro fight, about 17 years after his first, only needed three to win his 16th knockout win Teams finish career.
From the first bell, the former three-time world champion dominated Cardle's control, who had no answer to Burns's power and precision.
In the third round, a cut had opened over Cardle's eye, and when a right hand dropped the Lytham fighter on his back as if a trapdoor had just opened beneath him, the referee counted eight before deciding on Scottish descent had suffered enough. It was Burns's fastest win since 2011.
"I do not feel any different now than I did when I put on my gloves for the first time," the evergreen Burns said afterwards. "I felt good tonight. I was in combat the next week, but we were offered a chance to attend this show and we took the chance.
"It's a great place to fight, and I'm glad we won. The work of this Tony [Sims, his trainer] is with me and all my fitness buddies mean that I am always ready.
"I'm always waiting for this call, so hopefully there will be big fights for me. I always treat every fight the same, so I felt normal tonight.
"I felt that my shots were good and I had the win, which in my opinion is all that matters. We will sit down now and see if we can get a big fight after the New Year. "
The defeat was likely to put an end to any prospect of Burns returning to the world stage, but victory and convincing nature should ensure that he gets involved next year in the fight for big struggles in the lightweight division.
"There are some big names out there and some of them called me on social media," Burns said.
"But I'm just trying to stay away from it. I'll leave that to you [manager] Alex Morrison and [promoter] Eddie [Hearn], "
His dedication and dedication to training ensure he can be a decade younger with fighters at the age of 35.
"After every fight, I'm always right back in the gym," revealed Burns. "I always stay in shape. I may take a break from boxing and maybe eat too much, and my weight will increase, but I keep running and keep running. So when I start training again, I always have a good fitness base. "
Sims admitted that the youthful spirit of Burns was a key to his longevity. "We call him Benjamin Button as he rolls back all the time," the coach said. "He always surprises me. You can still see that Ricky is a world-class fighter. He still has some big fights in his head. "