Is It The End for Ricky Burns?
Ricky Burns was looking for a statement fight after losing to Terrence Crawford last March. Instead, he now faces an uncertain future after suffering a split decision loss to Dejan Zlaticanin of Montenegro on Friday night in his hometown of Glasgow, Scotland.
The former WBO featherweight and WBO lightweight champion was coming-off a lackluster year. He was “gifted” a draw in his September 2013 title defense against Raymundo Beltran. In that match many observers believe Beltran won after securing an 8th round knockdown over Burns. Then in his first fight of 2014, Burns lost his WBO Lightweight title to American Terrence Crawford via unanimous decision.
Despite the loss, Promoter Eddie Hearn was able to secure a “title eliminator” match from the WBC in Burns’ return. And while Zlaticanin was unbeaten in 18 fights, experts believed that this was a tune-up fight where Burns needed to rebound from the Crawford loss and prove he still has the goods to fight for a world title once again.
But they picked the wrong opponent.
Stepping Up His Game
Zlaticanin, who had knocked out 13 out of 18 opponents, had other plans in mind. He started like a house on fire by sending the hometown boxer down to the canvass within 30 seconds of the fight with a swinging counter left hook. Burns got up by the count of eight, but he was clearly rocked by his opponent. Zlaticanin continued to pepper him with shots to end his big round one.
To his credit, Burn made a fight out of it by keeping the fight close. But he was often caught in the ropes early in the fight and Zlaticanin’s left hook proved to be a tough riddle for the Scottish boxer. In the end, it was Dejan Zlaticanin who stepped up his game and came away with a close but clear split decision win. The scores were 115-113, 115-113 and 113-115. There were no protests or violent reactions from the home crowd after the verdict was announced.
Eddie Hearn called the defeat a “devastating blow” to the career of Burns and added that he is definitely out of any world title consideration at this point in his career. Hearn said that they will have to decide on Burns’ future that is if Burns wants to take a “big domestic level fight” and work his way back to the world title picture. The loss dropped Burns’ record to 36-4-1 with 11KOs.
On the other hand, Dejan Zlaticanin took a huge step forward in his unbeaten career. The 30 year old Montenegro native now positions himself for a title shot against WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa after winning this title eliminator bout. Although Burns and Petr Petrov are the only recognizable names in his resume, Zlaticanin now becomes a new player in the 135 lbs division. He improved his record to 19-0 with 13 KOs.
In the other bouts of the card, Willie Limond (38-4, 10 KOs) unified the British and Commonwealth junior welterweight titles with a majority decision win over Curtis Woodhouse (22-7, 13 KOs). Stephen Simmons (10-0, 5 KOs) stopped Wadi Camacho (12-3, 8 KOs) in the 10th round of their cruiserweight bout.
But the night belonged to Burns, not because he won but because how he failed on the big stage for the third consecutive fight. His future in the sport is definitely in question, and it would take a good streak or a huge win to put his name on the world map once again. Otherwise, this may be the end of a once-promising boxing career.
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