Self belief and desire are two vital ingredients for success in boxing. As usual, Ricky Burns showed those qualities in abundance as he boxed his way back from the brink in beating Alexandre Lepelley on the under-card of Josh Warrington’s European featherweight title triumph in Leeds.
Flatter to deceive
However, although a win was absolutely imperative, an impressive performance was also important. Yet the overwhelming feeling among the majority of fans is that Burns flattered to deceive again.
Despite clearly defeating Lepelley, his low key display failed to inspire much confidence in the fans. Anyone who was at the fight will have walked away thinking it is the now definitely the end of the road for Ricky Burns as far as winning more world titles is concerned.
The fight started very brightly with Burns scoring a rare knockdown, but as the action wore on it became a bit of a banal affair. If Burns raced out of the blocks impressively, he laboured over the finish line pretty limply. Before the fight I thought that moving up to the light-welterweight division may have meant a fresh start for Burns, but it looks like another false dawn.
Burns’ body shape is clearly more suited to the 135lb lightweight limit, and the landscape of that division in Britain means he can get some big pay days.
“There’s still fights for him domestically against Anthony Crolla, Luke Campbell, [Michael] Katsidis,” said Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn. These comments are strong indication that Hearn will put the brakes on any world title ambitions Burns still has.
World title dream over?
Even Burns himself hinted that his fight last night with Lepelley will be his first and last flirtation with the light welterweight division at any level.
“If I can make lightweight comfortably then its game on,” Burns said after the fight.
The ‘Rickster’ also stated that he has some ‘big decisions’ to make next week. The best decision he can make is to drop back down to British level and battle it out against Anthony Crolla or some of the other aforementioned fighters. He is over 30 now - securing the financial future of his family should take precedence over fighting for a third world title.
Although his best days seem to be behind him, his status as a former two division world title holder still has credence. Despite his decline, Burns is still a major scalp for any British lightweight. If and when Burns makes his return to domestic level, there will be a queue of the best 135lb British boxers demanding a bout with the Coatbridge native.
As a fellow Scotsman, I will dare to be an optimist and say that if he can make an impression at domestic level a third world title may be within his grasp before he hangs his gloves up. I wouldn’t bet my bank balance on it though.
Ricky Burns is still fueled by that burning self belief and desire to be a world champion again, but he should settle for some big pay days on the domestic scene instead of risking further humbling defeats on the global stage.
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