After two years as the WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns (36-2-1, 11 KO’s) may be reaching the end of the line as the champion after four title defenses. He dodged a bullet against Raymundo Beltran last September in being given a 12 round draw, and he lucked out in halting Jose Gonzalez last year in May in a fight that he was losing. However, Burns’ luck might be at an end when he faces the unbeaten Terence Crawford on March 1st at the Scottish Exhibition Center in Glasgow, Scotland.
Burns is a very good fighter and he’ll try every trick in the book in an effort to beat Crawford, but it might not be good enough. Burns appears to be overmatched in this fight, and he’s going to need to come up with the perfect fight strategy for him to come out ahead on March 1st.
“It’s going to be a very difficult fight for me,” Burns said to Sky Sports News. “He’s 22 fights undefeated. Everybody has been saying he’s the next big star at lightweight, so just under seven weeks to go now and I’m going to find out myself…I have to box Terence Crawford or get stripped of my title. But I feel this is a much tougher fight for me.”
There is possibly a way for Burns to beat Crawford, and that’s the strategy that he used to turn around his fight against Jose Gonzalez last year in May. Gonzalez had the speed, power and size advantage over Burns, and he was really getting to him in a fight that was one-sided until the 8th. At that point, Burns went after Gonzalez and turned into a war at close quarters. Burns was staggered in the round, but he forced Gonzalez to use up all his energy. Shortly after that, Gonzalez quit on his stool, supposedly due to a wrist injury. But it looked more like he quit because he was too tired to come out and fight another hard round with Burns in close nailing him with shots.
With the exception of his fight against Breidis Prescott, Crawford hasn’t been tested by an aggressive fighter that went after him in an all-out fashion. Prescott stayed on the outside for the most part, and that made it easier for Crawford to pick him off with his shots. Burns likely won’t stay at a distance against Crawford, because that would be playing into his hands. He’ll get in close and try to force Crawford to fight without a lot of room. That’s how you fight the quick guys like Crawford. You have to stick close to them, and not give them room to use their speed and counter punching ability.