Ricky Burns: The Beginning of the End


Upon reflection one can contemplate with a cool head now the journey is over, that Ricky Burns was a fighter perhaps graced with a humble sprinkling of good fortune. Heart being the determining factor fueling his victories as opposed to pure skills. When he finally set foot upon the upper rung of the light weight ladder, his balance became precarious.

His last three fights before this, presented UK/Scottish fans with an uneasiness within the gut. A looming realization that Ricky Burns may have come as far as he can go within a certain level of the sport.

Dejan Zlaticanin from Montenegro 18(13)-0. Lazy pupils who engaged in their vices after school instead of correctly researching when laboriously compiling their homework notes, assumed this would be a blowout victory for Burns, a warm up return.

This was a WBC eliminator, and a fighter I expected to give burns nightmares. In my video before this fight took place, I expressed the opinion, that this fight could replicate the great Ray Beltran jaw breaker massacre of 2013. I offered the opinion that Ricky will need to stay off the ropes, that he will scrape through this fight with generous scorecards, unjustly.

I like Ricky, however I’m glad I was wrong. Justice was served in Boxing.

In the 1st a whirling overhand left, crashed down on Rickys face almost sending him through the mat. It was quick, placed within the first 15 seconds and as shocking a blow as they come. He made it through the round, the fight was on.

Burns is looking vulnerable on the ropes in the 2nd, the relentless body attacks and mauling Mike Tyson formula of pressure on the ropes from Dejan very exciting to watch. It was clear early, that Burns was displeased with this showing from Dejan. Ricky’s rebuttal? some solid body shots, an attempt to drain the fuel cells of Zaticanin and slow the onslaught.

Burns is forced into his shell by the 3rd and it doesn’t look like a home he’s comfortable resting in. The jab initially presented in this round by Burns to give the judges something, now a little more shy. The arm throwing the jab is taken, now required to solidify his defence from the Zaticanin cannons. Burns is in a very competitive fight, as I expected. Great viewing.

Several left hands bang against Burns head, and he gives nothing back in the 4th by way of serious response, more of the same in the 5th. Burns pleading with his trainer “I can’t get away!” when asked why he’s staying on the ropes.

In the 6th Round the encoded boxing textbook that burns contains within his grey matter becomes partially visible, several fragmented memories of Boxing Fundamentals emerge in Ricky’s mind. He’s lost the password but is starting to recall slices. Thus crisper boxing from The Rickster in this round, nice strong right hands, and actually initiating the action with the jab, instead of waiting to respond. Much better. Zaticanin has expended a lot of energy and for the first time, looks to be re routing his inside mechanics to suck on the reserves.

It’s clear Zaticanin is still the stronger man, even with depleted energy. Any success Burns has is reversed when Zaticanin literally pushes burns backs to the ropes, sets up shop and again begins his beautiful art.

It takes as far as the 10th round for Burns to truly get a foothold in the fight again. The first definite clear case for Burns having the better boxing skills is possibly presented. A mixing of measured distance and firing jabs blend to slow Dejan down a little, giving Ricky respite briefly. Ricky also finally dancing off the ropes, and spinning away from the ever present danger as opposed to tucking up like Clottey in the Pacquiao fight and just trying to test how long the bones in his arms will remain whole.

The 11th is Zaticanins round, Burns not wanting to come anywhere close to taking a serious risk and sit down on any punches. A light continuous jab, aimed to confuse things for Dejan rather than land on him is all we get. Zaticanin clearly showing the cleaner offense and punching burns insides, into a fine paste. Very concentrated body work again, very nice to watch.

The 12th round was closer but Zaticanin still walked away with 116-112 win on my card. Ricky Burns loses a split decision, with one judge hilariously awarding burns a scandalous 115-113 win.

Ricky leaves the ring, no post fight interview. It reminded me of the prickly embarrassment Adrien Broner had to endure as he fled from the ring. There should be no embarrassment this time around though. Ricky has reached his level, and netted a wealth of achievements in the sport.

Team Burns want him to return, at a higher weight. Not even an attempt to give us an argument, as to why he can deal with world level fighters at a higher weight, if he can’t even deal with Dejan Zlaticanin at his own weight. He’s just going up, and that’s the end of it. Then I wish him the best.

The Journey will continue, asking whether it really should or not? only one man knows the answer to that. I wonder what his response was to that question he inevitably asked himself, in the quiet reflective moments in the locker room, after Fridays fight. We shall soon find out.



© Wingy 2014