Coatbridge’s Ricky Burns (41-5-1, 14 KOs) successfully defended his WBO light-welterweight title against Belarus’s Kiryl Relikh last weekend via a lopsided decision win at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro venue. Scores of 116-112 (twice) and a ludicrous 118-110 did not reflect what was a close, tense fight and night for the Scottish boxer.
Burns, though, picked up the win and is now eying a lucrative Las Vegas showdown against Adrien Broner. “I’m more than happy to go over to America and fight,” he said when speaking to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser.
“Adrien Broner when he is on his game is a very good fighter. I’ve always said that I’d love a big fight over there and fingers crossed that it comes off. I’ve always said in my career—if the money’s right, I’ll fight anybody. I’ve been over there on holiday a few times and I don’t see the point in going anywhere else now.”
“I think the fans here would love Vegas,” stated Eddie Hearn, who promotes Burns. “Adrien Broner is 100 per cent the fight that he wants. The terms are virtually there and we’ll try and get it in December. That’s the fight he’s been searching for for many years. We’re looking for the big unification fights—it’s time to go to that next level and roll the dice every time.”
However, Barry McGuigan has told The Sun (Scottish edition) that he hopes to one day pitch his man Josh Taylor in with Burns at some point. Taylor (6-0, 6 KOs) picked up Commonwealth Gold in 2014 en route to his professional career; he meets Dave Ryan at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Sports Centre on October 21 and could be a future option for the 33-year-old three-weight world title-holder.
“If it’s Broner next, it’s a way for Broner to win another world title,” stated McGuigan, who manages Taylor. “I know I’m talking as if Ricky would lose that fight, but the reality is the way he performed against Relikh he would. Although Burns is still world class, I don’t think he is any longer the fighter he used to be. With that in mind, what does he do? Does he reset his sights and go for another world title or might he be interested in a big Scottish showdown with Taylor?”
He added: “If things go to plan against Ryan and he keeps advancing at the rate he is, a fight with Burns is a distinct possibility. Josh has had only six professional fights but the way he has performed in the ring and in sparring against a variety of big, competent fast guys who have tested him in every department. I’d give him a chance against anybody but why would Burns entertain the idea of fighting a kid on the way up who hasn’t done anything yet? All boxers have a shelf life so he would have to start thinking realistically about Taylor, given that it would be a huge fight.
“Ricky is a very fit guy who’s obsessed with boxing. It’s his life and I hope I don’t insult him by saying this, but he’s a very ordinary guy who leads a simple life and that’s why he is able to focus so intently on boxing.”
Either way, “Rickser” still holds a few cards thanks to last weekend’s win and could see his name up in lights in Las Vegas before the year ends. Taylor may have to wait a few more years and fights before picking up the Scottish boxing mantle.