Thursday, 10 October 2013



RIVAL fight bosses Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum are on a direct collision course over the future ring plans of world champion Ricky Burns.

According to American promoter Arum, the 30-year-old Coatbridge ace will defend his crown against undefeated Nebraskan Terence Crawford on Burns Night.

The powerful Top Rank chief announced earlier this week that the showdown will take place at Madison Square Garden on January 25.

But the champion’s promoter has told Arum to forget it after claiming that Burns won’t be fit to fight against until the middle of February at the earliest.

And even if Burns was to make a miraculous recovery from his broken jaw he sustained against Ray Beltran, Arum will have to seriously rethink the offer he has tabled after Crawford was confirmed as the mandatory challenger.

Hearn said: “It’s an interesting situation. Crawford is the new mandatory challenger and he is with Top Rank, the same as Beltran.

“We have already written to Arum to say that we accept that Beltran probably won and we think he should be given a rematch as it’s the right thing to do, morally as much as anything.

“But Crawford will be onto Top Rank saying that he is next in line and they probably have more interest in him than they do Beltran, so they’ll try to force the situation, with the winner potentially fighting Beltran.

“But, for me, commercially Beltran is probably a bigger fight and more relevant and we are liaising with the broadcaster, HBO in an effort to try to make that fight.

“I was interested to learn that Bob Arum announced at a press conference earlier this week that Burns will fight Crawford at Madison Square Garden on January 25 which was very nice of him.

“He did make us an offer which we have rejected, and, because of the purse bid split, we would be favourites to get that fight for Scotland anyway.

“Crawford is very good, but, commercially it wouldn’t be bigger than Beltran because his name won’t mean a lot to the people of Scotland.

“There are there options as I see it and it is 100 per cent that one of them will be next.

“They are for Ricky to fight Beltran or Crawford or for him to undertake a unification bout which might be the way to supersede a mandatory defence.”

Hearn admits that there is a risk that Burns could be stripped of the belt by the WBO if he fails to agree to a defence against Crawford next.

But he stressed: “Generally a unification bout is allowed if a fighter has just had a mandatory and Ricky had one against Jose Gonzalez in May.

“One of the problems is that he hadn’t had one for so long that the WBO will be on his case although there is also the option of Beltran-Crawford, with the winner fighting Burns.

“It’s an interesting scenario and sometimes you get an offer that you really can’t turn down. But it’s my job to ensure that if Ricky fights in America the money is life-changing and the offer we got is nowhere near that.

“So if the Crawford fight is going to happen, we want home advantage. We can generate good money through the crowds and TV revenue so there’s no reason why that fight can’t happen here if we have to take Crawford.

“But because of the controversy surrounding the Beltran fight, albeit it wasn’t Ricky’s fault, he wants a rematch because he believes he would do a number on him next time.

“But, whoever Ricky fights, his next bout will be crucial because he was mediocre against Gonzalez and probably lost to Beltran, so he is under pressure now and I think that will drive him on.”

Meanwhile, Hearn confessed that he is dreading Burns’ first sparring session a month or so from now.

He added: “We won’t know for sure about the effects of his injury until he has had his first sparring session and taken a shot on the jaw and that’s one call I am not looking forward to.”

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