Ricky Burns lost his WBO world lightweight title to American challenger Terrence Crawford via a unanimous decision over 12 rounds, in what was the 5th defence of his belt at the SECC in Glasgow on Saturday night.
There was no doubt about the result and even Burns couldn’t kid himself at the end even though his team celebrated at the final whistle. He just hadn’t done enough throughout the fight to hang onto his title and the three judges agreed, scoring it; 116-112, 117-111, 116-112 all in favour of the new champion.
Both traded some good shots in the opener and it looked like Burns might try to stamp his authority early but neither did. Burns was finding it hard to land clean on Crawford and he was over stretching trying to land while out of range. Crawford was continually switching stance and when holding a southpaw stance he was dictating the range impressively and was drawing Burns on to his fast counters and Burns started to fall behind as the fight wore on into the middle rounds.
Burns was cut on the right eye with a slashing right uppercut from Crawford, who opened up and had his best round in the 5th.
Crawford continued to back Burns up and built on the success he had in the previous rounds and the champion started to ship punishment to head and body as the American challenger found another gear and his range, Burns’ who was starting to look uncomfortable and his titles were slipping away from him.
Crawford was warned again for illegal tactics, this time the forearm but the ref was lenient and didn’t take any points. The champion just didn’t performing and Crawford started to now take advantage as Burns failed to land any clean shots. Crawford began to get a spring in his step, more confident, he had silenced the Glasgow pro Burns crowd, cutting off the ring Crawford was doing enough without really extending himself and Burns looked like he was now struggling to perform.
Crawford’s jab came into play more as the fight entered the championship rounds and more importantly for him, it was landing now and added to Burns’ woes and attempts to find something to turn things around. The slick Crawford’s swagger and ability to avoid Burns’ punches was impressive.
Burns came out in the last round looking like he knew he needed a stoppage but after an early attack, normal service resumed and Crawford finished strong and deserved his win. Burns said after the fight he would carry on fighting and suggested a rematch with Crawford in America.
After breaking his jaw against Ray Beltran in his last fight in September, Burns may have been suffering from some form of gun shyness and it wouldn’t be surprising. Burns entered this fight with a titanium plate inserted in his jaw and it must have been playing on his mind every time one of Crawford’s hooks clipped him on it? Burns at no point was able to draw Crawford into the trenches that he had promised to do before the fight and it seemed the spark just wasn’t there to perform to the standard he needed to. If Burns can comeback and be the champion he was, is left to be seen but he took the defeat well and admitted the best man won on the night.