Scottish warrior Ricky Burns, the former WBO super-featherweight and lightweight king, will get a chance to become a three-weight ruler in the summer, as he will challenge Italian Michele Di Rocco in Glasgow on May 21st for the regular WBA light-welterweight title which is vacant.
32-year-old Burns, 39-5-1(13) has only won three of his last seven outings and he had a bad spell in late 2013 to the summer of 2014, when he was held to a controversial draw by Raymundo Beltran (in a fight where Burns suffered a broken jaw and was deemed lucky to have escaped without a loss) and was then beaten on points by Terence Crawford and Dejan Zlaticanin. More than a few fans and experts felt the man from Coatbridge, Scotland was finished.
Burns though, came back well in his May 2015 fight with the unbeaten Omar Figueroa Junior, who he pushed hard in a competitive fight. Since then, Burns has won two against decent enough fighters, but the fight against the classy Italian known as “The King” will mark a step back up in class. Once- beaten at 40-1-1(18), 33-year-old Di Rocco has boxed at European level and Burns has faced far better quality of opposition than has the reigning EBU champ, but who is the fresher fighter?
Burns’ manager Alex Morrison spoke to STV Sport and he said he expects a great night of boxing for Scotland:
“I’m very happy for Ricky to get a chance of winning a third world title,” Morrison said. “It’s a great chance for Ricky to resurrect his career and I’m happy he’s fighting an Italian because there is a big Italian community in Glasgow. It’ll be a big night in Glasgow.
Burns, never in a bad fight when it comes to action, will probably enter the May 21st fight as a slight favourite, and he is boxing at home. Di Rocco is, like Burns, no huge puncher and a distance fight looks a good bet here (Burns has never been stopped, while Di Rocco has just one stoppage defeat, from way back in 2007 when he was TKO’d by Giuseppe Lauri – a loss he later avenged) . Burns, who was massive for the weight at 130-pounds, has boxed at 140 before and he proved he is tall enough and strong enough at the weight. At 5’10” he will enjoy a height advantage over the 5’7” Di Rocco.
If he doesn’t perform like the faded force he looked to be prior to the Figueroa fight, Burns has a great chance of becoming a three-weight champion. Look for Burns to reel back the years and win a close, deserved decision.