Despite Ricky Burns’ defeat against Dejan Zlaticanin in the WBC lightweight eliminator in Glasgow on Friday night his manager Alex Morrison has insisted that he will not be quitting the sport, while promoter Eddie Hearn has also backed the fighter to make a return to the ring.
The Scot lost a split decision against the Montenegro fighter and was knocked down in the first 30 seconds of the contest. He looked susceptible to the left hook throughout the 12 rounds as he struggled to live with his opponent at times.
Despite offering more in the second half of the bout, Burns rarely troubled the Montenegrin and Zlaticanin took the fight 115-113, 115-113 and 113-115.
The defeat has all but ended Burns’ hopes of fighting at world title level again, but his boxing career is certainly not over if the comments from both his manager and promoter are anything to go by.
Morrison believes the former world champion should now move up in weight in order to prolong his career further and possibly compete for another world title.
"I'd like Ricky to move up to light-welterweight, where I have no doubt he could win a third world title," Morrison told BBC Scotland. "I think he definitely won't call it a day."
However his promoter, Hearn, doesn’t sound quite as confident that Burns has what it takes to fight at the top level again, after getting dominated in his last two bouts.
"I might be watching a fighter that hasn't got it at world level anymore," said Hearn. "But I'm not watching a fighter who can't compete in big fights."
Burns lost the WBO title in March when he was comprehensively beaten by American Terence Crawford, having retained the belt last year following a controversial draw with Raymundo Beltran, during which the Scot suffered a broken jaw.
Hearn hopes the 31-year-old will continue boxing and compete at domestic level, but he does concede that his days of fighting at elite level are most likely over.
"He's shown he's not ready to fight for another world title and that's the heartbreaking thing," added Hearn.
"If he says to me 'I don't want to be involved in domestic fights', then he's done. Boxing and competing is not all about world level, there are big domestic fights out there. It's all about desire.
"I want Ricky to fight again because I know how much it means to him and the desire he's got. I think there would be a huge void in his life without the sport of boxing.
"He's in tears back stage, absolutely devastated, and more devastated than when Crawford beat him, because he knows deep down he's too good to be losing at that level.
"Not taking anything away from Zlaticanin, he was game and he was fresh, but he's not a Crawford or a Beltran, he's a fighter with the pedigree that Ricky should be beating. And I feel he would have beaten him without that start."
Burns has had a good career that has seen him claim three world titles and win 36 fights (11 KO’s), he has lost just four. But it has been the manner of his most recent defeats that have begun to set alarm bells ringing and led to speculation of retirement.
The Scot still has many years ahead of him but it all comes down to how hungry he is to get back in there and do it all again after two crushing defeats that would have taken their toll on him, both physically and mentally.
He will reportedly hold meetings with his manager this week to decide his future, before heading to America on holiday.
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