Scottish hero Ricky Burns, who has not enjoyed a high-profile win for some time now, has lost none of his self belief and ambition. The former 130 and 135-pound champion, now aged 33, gets a world title comeback opportunity this Saturday, against skilled Italian Michelle Di Rocco. The two will meet in Glasgow, for the WBA light-welterweight title that was stripped from the always-controversial Adrien Broner for failing to make weight before entering his fight with Ashley Theophane last time out.
Now Burns is targeting both Broner’s old belt and Broner himself. Speaking with The Star, Burns, 39-5-1(13) said he has unfinished business with “The Problem,” as he was twice supposed to meet him, at 126 and at 130-pounds. That was a long time ago now, back when Broner was unbeaten and being called by many people, “The next Floyd Mayweather Junior.” Still, Burns will still be getting himself what would be a massive fight with Broner – if he can defeat Di Rocco, 40-1-1(18) first.
“I was meant to fight Adrien Broner at super-featherweight and lightweight,” Burns told Nick Parkinson. “It’s always been a fight on the table but you don’t know what sort of Broner will turn up and if he’ll make the weight. I’ll take on anyone if I win [on Saturday] though. The last couple of years have been up and down for me, but I don’t need any extra incentive in this fight, it’s a massive chance for me to create history. There’s no way I am losing. I’m ready for anything that comes my way.”
If Burns can beat Di Rocco – who is a year older than Burns and will be having what is just his second pro fight outside of Italy and his first in Scotland – he will already have scored what could well win Comeback of The Year honours for 2016. Di Rocco is no huge puncher and Burns will become the biggest and most recognisable name on his resume, but how much has Burns got left? Since the loss to new star Terence Crawford in March of 2013 (the last time Burns entered the ring as a world champ) he has had mixed results. The Scot has gone 3-2 since then, but his brave showing against Omar Figueroa Junior in May of last year seemed to show a renewed vigour. Two decent stoppage wins followed, and now Burns gets another big chance.
A distance fight is highly likely on Saturday, and both men can be expected to throw plenty of punches in what should be an engrossing chess-match type of affair. Burns could win a close one, but it will not be easy. Boxing people have to be impartial, but it cannot be denied how a Burns win would have a genuine “feel-good” factor to it. As to how Burns would do against Broner…….. Let’s get this one out of the way first. There would only be one good guy/fan favourite in that particular match-up though!