By Scott Gilfoid: Ricky Burns (41-6-1, 14 KOs) weighed in at 134.5 pounds for his fight this Saturday night against former lightweight belt holder Anthony Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KOs) for their fight at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Crolla weighed in at 134.9 lbs.
It was a calm weigh-in. Neither fighter tried to use intimidation tactics, nor there was zero jawing back and forth the way you sometimes see at weigh-ins between fighters that dislike each other. Burns and Crolla appear to be on friendly terms.
The Crolla vs. Burns bout is scheduled for 12 rounds in the lightweight division. It’ll be televised on Sky Sports Action in the UK.
Burns, 34, is moving down from the 140 lb. division to face Crolla. If there’s any real advantage that Crolla has in this fight, it’s the weight. Burns might be drained from making weight, although look bad at all during Friday’s weigh-in. We’ll have to see on Saturday night if the loss of weight will hurt Burns or not. I’ve seen him in fights where the weight did seem to hurt Burns, and you could tell right away during the weigh-in that he would have problems. I didn’t see that today. Burns looked good.
”This fight doesn’t need to be shoving about,” said Crolla to Sky Sports News. ”It was never going to get that anyway. But anyone knows who knows their boxing knows this is a proper fight tomorrow.”
Crolla is going to need to do all of these things for him to beat Burns:
• Fight him on the inside. Burns will pick Crolla apart if he’s allowed to fight at a distance
• Cut off the ring. I doubt that Burns will move a lot in this fight, but if he does, Crolla will need to force him to fight by pressuring him. constantly by staying on top of him
• Throw body shots. Crolla isn’t much of a puncher upstairs when throwing to the head, but he’s able to generate a lot of power when he throws to the body. That’s what he needs to do against Burns. He’s never going to knock him out with a head shot in this fight. That’s a waste of time
• Don’t get discouraged. Crolla looked like he was mentally defeated long before the end of his last fight against Linares. Crolla didn’t seem to be trying at times to win in the last 6 rounds against Linares. He can’t fight like that against Burns if he wants to beat him. Burns is beatable if you fight a smart fight, and don’t mentally give up. Burns will be looking to frustrate Crolla, rough him up, and make him miss. It’s up to Crolla for him to use his boing brain and fight as well as he can
It’s a proper fight, but it’s also one that you have to favor Burns to win. He looked a lot better in his last fight against Julius Indongo than Crolla did in his last match against Jorge Linares. Both guys lost, but Burns looked like the far better guy of the two. He was just facing a really tall guy in Indongo, who had the size and size advantage in their fight on April 15. Burns never seemed comfortable with Indongo’s southpaw stance. Burns struggled from the outset with Indongo’s lefty stance, and it was too much in the end for him to deal with. Crolla fights out of the orthodox [right-handed] stance, and it’s going to be a lot easier for Burns to deal with.
”Winning is so important,” said Crolla. ”The winner goes straight back into fighting for world titles, the loser has to rebuild, maybe drop down a level , and neither of us want to do that. It’s so important for us both to get the win, and I cannot wait for it.”
I wouldn’t count on getting a title shot straightaway if I were Crolla. Even if he wins, I doubt that he’ll get another fight against WBA World lightweight champion Jorge Linares right away. Linares just beat Crolla twice. Crolla’s promoter Eddie Hearn has the money to offer Linares a big payday to come back to Manchester to fight him again. Linares has a voluntary defense available to him after his recent win over his No.1 mandatory challenger Luke Campbell.
I don’t see what Crolla can change in his game for him to beat Linares though. Linares has too much boxing skills and hand speed for a guy like Crolla to defeat him. If Linares suffers a hand injury like he did in his first fight against Crolla, then maybe we could see an upset, but that’s not something you can bank on. Personally, I wouldn’t be too excited about seeing Crolla and Linares fighting again. I’d rather see Crolla fight WBO champion Terry Flanagan. That’s a fight that we wouldn’t be able to predict the outcome.
It’s interesting that Burns is moving back down in weight to the 135 lb. division. There were more than a few boxing fans who felt that Burns was making a mistake in moving up to the light welterweight division in 2014. It seemed like a knee-jerk reaction on Burns’ part following his 12 round split decision loss to Dejan Zlaticanin on June 27, 2014. Burns fought the 5’4″ Zlaticanin the wrong way by trying to slug with him instead of using his 6 inch height advantage to box from the outside. Had Burns stayed at 135, he probably would have done much better than he did in moving up in weight.
Other weights on Saturday’s Crolla vs. Burns card:
Conor Benn 146.6 – Nathan Clarke 146
Sam Eggington 147 – Mohamed Mimoune 145.8
Robbie Barrett 134.4 – Lewis Ritson 133.9
Hosea Burton 179.4 – Saidou Sall 171.8
Gavin McDonnell – Jozsef Ajtai