Ricky Burns aged 31, a former two weight world champion has stood at the top of the sport for several years now but appears to be a fighter on the decline.
He has been a true role model of a professional throughout his career with a really good work ethic and a desire to get on with his work without attracting the glamour and celebrity status of being a world champion.
Having suffered losses earlier on in his career he is the ideal inspiration for young boxers who suffer setbacks. He fought back from early losses to become a two weight world champion.
Sadly it appears that much of what made Burns such a solid world champion is fading away before our very eyes.
Burns made his debut at light welterweight in Leeds this weekend past and he was thoroughly unconvincing on the night.
He seemed to lack any sort of fluidity in his work and looked defensively vulnerable and open to counters. It seemed like just more of the same from his previous few fights against the likes of Gonzalez, Beltran, Crawford and Zlaticanin.
There is something missing from Burns’ work and it is not desire and determination. At his age following his highly successful career if his heart wasn’t still in his work than he wouldn’t have made the big decision to switch trainer from Billy Nelson to Tony Sims. He wouldn’t continue his training away from Scotland in Essex if he didn’t have his head in the sport.
To make such big changes shows that the passion and want to reach the top is still present but there is definitely something missing from the likable Scot.
Burns squared off with 32 year old Alexandre Lepelley who held a decent record on paper coming into the fight with just one loss.
Leppelley did however have only three wins by way of knock out from his 17 wins suggesting that he isn’t a big puncher. This was supposed to be a fight in which Burns made a statement and proved that there is still something left in the tank.
The Frenchmen had a point taken away in the seventh round for excessive use of the head which seems harsh but it had no real effect on the outcome of the fight with Burns a clear winner on points with a 79-71 margin.
No Big Impression
Burns wasn’t to make the big impression and to be perfectly honest there seems more questions raised from this fight than answers. Burns himself seems keen to move back down to lightweight as does his trainer Tony Sims. They have a nutritionist on board who will assess the weight and they will see where to go from there.
Burns has claimed a much needed win but the performance was far from convincing and as sad as it is to say it appears that his time in the higher echelons on the sport is over.
There are still big domestic fights out there for him in a thriving lightweight scene but that is as good as he can hope for at the moment.