By Greg Stiller: WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns is taking the news that he’ll have to face Terence Crawford next in stride, as he’s willing to fight him if he has to given that the World Boxing Organization has now ordered him to take the fight. However, Burns still prefers facing #3 WBO Raymundo Beltran next, because he’s got unfinished business against him from their 12 round draw from last September. Burns was seen as the loser of the fight by most boxing fans, but the judges gave him a 12 round draw.
The fight took place in Burns’ home city of Glasgow, Scotland, and a lot of fans saw it as home cooking in terms of Burns getting a draw in a fight that he deserved to lose. Perhaps for this season Burns would prefer to face Beltran next so that he can close the door on that fight and then move on, but it doesn’t look like the WBO is going to let that happen. They’ve made Crawford the mandatory challenger and have ordered that Burns’ promoter of Matchroom Sport Eddie Hearns must negotiate the fight with Crawford’s promoters at Top Rank within 30 days or it’ll go to purse bids.
Beltran said to RingTV “Crawford is my mandatory. I would have preferred to do the right thing and get the Beltran rematch in before that but I said to Eddie that I was happy to go ahead with the Crawford fight if things couldn’t be worked out…If it’s Crawford, so be it, but I fulfilled a mandatory against [Jose] Gonzalez in May, and simply wanted Beltran first.”
Well, it’s true that Burns fought his mandatory against Gonzalez last May, but sanctioning bodies have a way of speeding things up sometimes to give other fighters opportunities for a title shot, especially talented ones like Crawford. This guy is being groomed by Top Rank to be the next Floyd Mayweather Jr., so it’s not surprising that he’s being given the fast track to a title shot. Even if Burns does get the opportunity to face Beltran next, he’s still going to have to face Crawford in his next fight after that. So it’s not as if Burns is really getting anything by being forced to fight Crawford now rather than after the Beltran fight. If Burns loses to Beltran, then he’s off the hook for the Crawford fight and he can simply move on and target IBF champion Miguel Vazquez or WBA champion Richard Abril. Those are more winnable fights for Burns anyway.