Ricky Burns is a great fighter. He’s currently the reigning WBO Lightweight champion. He hasn’t lost since 2007 and as evidenced by the fact that he finished all 12 rounds of his last fight despite having his jaw broken in the 2nd, is without doubt one of the toughest guys in boxing today.
However, in his upcoming fight against the unbeaten, #5 world ranked and superbly skilled challenger Terence Crawford he is the underdog and in my opinion, with good reason. In Burns’ last fight, a title defense against the tough and very game Raymundo Beltran of Mexico, Burns had his jaw broken in the 2nd and was dropped hard in the 8th. Leading to a very controversial draw in a fight where most writers and fans alike thought Beltran had clearly won.
Though the decision was extremely a letdown and should be addressed accordingly, that’s for another article.
The story of that fight as it pertains to this fight is really how easy it seemed for Beltran to land big shots up close after picking off most of Burns’ quick attacks from the outside and closing the distance on him. I found myself thinking while watching Beltran dominate that if his counters were just a little faster and crisper he could’ve likely stopped Burns.
Which brings us back to Terence Crawford.
Crawford, aside from being currently undefeated as a pro, has also had an exceptional amateur career as well, including wins over the likes of Carlos Molina, current WBO super featherweight champion Mikey Garcia, and current 140lb King Danny Garcia. In his last fight against the tough Bredis Prescott (Known mostly for KO’ing Amir Khan in the first round of their fight), he put on a boxing clinic. Displaying the same type of timing, footwork, counterpunching ability, and just overall skill needed to exploit the aforementioned flaws exhibited by Ricky Burns in his last fight. This was especially impressive when you consider that Prescott is a huge puncher and Crawford went up in weight to fight him on just 10 days notice. Also, there are the questions about Burns’ jaw injury because as Victor Ortiz showed us in his recent loss to Collazo, that can seriously affect your punch resistance to the point where it’s potentially career threatening.
Though it does look good, It’s not all sweet for Crawford though because this is boxing, and he is fighting a world champion. So anything can happen but if you ask me, the questions surrounding Burns’ injury, the defensive liabilities he showed against Beltran matched against Crawford’s boxing IQ and overall skill, coupled with the hunger being on the verge of stardom brings will simply be too much for Burns.