Crolla v Burns Tops Manchester Bill Saturday
Apart from another WBSS quarter-final when Chris Eubank Jr fights Avni Yildirim in Stuttgart on Saturday, a full card in Manchester should also keep Australian boxing fans busy on sports betting sites online. Top of the bill is a bout that should reignite the perennial English-Scottish rivalry: Mancunian former WBA and British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla is set to fight Scottish three-division former world champ Ricky Burns.
It’s an important bout for both fighters, as the winner will be practically guaranteed another shot at the world lightweight title, while the loser could be facing a career downgrade. Betting sites reckon the victory is likely to go Crolla’s way, offering the 30-year-old at around $0.40. But at under $1.80 on most sites, Burns is hardly a rank outsider, either.
Burns Has More Impressive Record
At 34, the Scot has a few years on his southern opponent, but he also has a 1cm height and 8cm reach advantage. His record is 48: 41-6-1, with 14 KOs, compared to Crolla’s 40: 31-6-3, with 13 KOs; Burns has marginally better stats, but there really isn’t much in it. The result could boil down to who wants it more.
Burns is the only Scot, and only the third British boxer in history, to win world titles in three weight divisions, namely super-featherweight, lightweight and super-lightweight. Having lost his WBA Super-Lightweight belt in a unification bout with Namibian IBF and IBO champ Julius Indongo in April this year, he’ll want the Manchester victory badly, to get back into championship contention in the lightweight division.
Crolla Claims Two Linares Defeats Were Instructive
Crolla’s motivation will hardly be lacking either. His last two fights have ended in defeat: in September last year, he lost his WBA World Lightweight title to Venezuelan WBC Diamond champ Jorge Linares in front of the Manchester faithful, in a narrow but unanimous decision. Linares then won the rematch, also in Manchester, by a wider margin in January, so Crolla badly needs to treat his fans to a win.
He’s been optimistic at pre-fight press events, however, claiming that he learnt a lot at the hands of Linares, and that the consecutive defeats turned him into a better fighter. That’s all the reassurance that the punters backing him needed.