Ricky Burns Again Chasing History, Beating Odds
On Saturday night, WBA super-lightweight champion Ricky Burns will once again step into the ring in his home country of Scotland, and will look to make history yet again.
Last year, Burns became the first Scottish boxer to win titles in three weight classes when he beat Michele di Rocco for the vacant WBA 140 lb. belt.
Now, Burns (41-5-1, 14 KOs) will look to join the small class of British boxers to win title unification fights. He faces Namibia’s Julius Indongo (21-0, 11 KOs), who holds the IBF belt in the 140 lb. division.
In an interview with ESPN, Burns spoke humbly of his achievements so far, clearly a fighter focused entirely on what is ahead:
"I don’t think about what I’ve done so far and I won’t until I hang them up," he said.
"In my eyes, a fight is a fight. It’s always great to go into big fights like this one, but the pressure is big enough in world title fights that I keep stuff like legacies and so on away, and just focus on what’s in front of me. That’s the way I’ve always been.
"Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with what I’ve achieved and people always say that I’m a three-weight world champion and only one of three ever in Britain, but I’ve not really thought about it and it’s not sunk in.
"I’m not one for making a fuss about things. I try to keep a low profile after fights, keep my head down and go on holiday, and get the date for the next fight."
Burns, 33, has been through the ringer in recent years and emerged to prove himself still a champion. When he lost his lightweight title to top-10 pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford and then suffered a split decision loss to Dejan Zlaticanin, many wrote Burns off. Promoter Eddie Hearn was one of them. Burns quickly proved Hearn wrong, and now the British promoter is speaking about some major matchups if the Scottish champion can unify the titles:
"At this stage of his career, everything is looked at on a fight-by-fight basis," Hearn said. "But Ricky knows a victory on Saturday makes him a huge target for the big names – and they will follow.
"But from what he has been through, everything he gets is a bonus. I kind of feel we’re now free-rolling. We’ve had the Di Rocco win, then the defence (against Kiryl Relikh last October) and now a unification, so God knows what’s next? Vegas? (Adrien) Broner? You can’t rule anything out."
First things first, Burns will have to get past a tough, bigger opponent in Indongo on Saturday night. But as the Scottish boxer has proven in the past, there’s no limit to just how many expectations he can exceed.