By Michael Collins: WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns (35-2, 10 KO’s) will be returning to the ring by December, according to his promoter Frank Warren. However, it won’t be against former WBO featherweight champion Scott Harrison, because the World Boxing Organization president Paco Valcarcel is saying that Burns has to fight his mandatory challenger.
Burns’ promoter Frank Warren said to thesun.co.uk “Ricky will return in December but it won’t be against compatriot Scott Harrison…That blockbuster, plus unifications against world champions Miguel Vazquez could happen next year.”
Harrison is awfully rusty for me to see a fight between him and Burns as “Blockbuster” as Warren says. Unfortunately, it probably would be in Scotland.
A Harrison-Burns fight is one that would make a lot of money for Burns and his team, as it would for Harrison, because both fighters are from Scotland. However, the 35-year-old Harrison has fought only twice since making his comeback in June of this year following seven years in inactivity. Harrison beaten over-matched opponents Gyorgy Mizsei Jr and Joe Elfidh, but he remains un-ranked by the World Boxing Organization. You can bet that Harrison will be ranked in the top 15 in a fairly short period and we’ll soon be seeing this fight whether we want to or not.
Burns seems to be a decent fighter, but he’s attracted a lot of criticism from boxing fans due to all the weak opponents he’s faced during his time as the WBO super featherweight and now the lightweight champion. While boxing fans have wanted Burns to fight Adrien Broner or Antonio DeMarco for a long time, fans have had to settle for seeing Burns beat Nicky Cook, Andreas Evensen, Joseph Laryea and Paulus Moses. In Burns’ last fight, he defeated Kevin Mitchell by a 4th round TKO last Saturday night, but that just looked like another one of Burns’ easy money fights because Mitchell has already been exposed in the past by Michael Katsidis.
I don’t particularly like the idea of seeing Burns fight a unification bout against Miguel Vazquez, the IBF lightweight champion. I noticed that Warren specifically mentioned Vazquez’s name for a unification bout for Burns, but Warren didn’t mention WBC champion Antonio DeMarco, who I consider a better fighter than Vazquez. I’m wondering if Burns is going to be kept away from fighting DeMarco? We haven’t seen Burns fighting Broner, and I have a feeling that we may not see Burns fighting DeMarco either. With Burns being selectively matched it’s going to likely cause boxing fans to see him as just a paper champion unless he’s able to fight the very best guys in the lightweight division at some point.