The battle of Britain, Ricky Burns has been written off, but professional fighter Frankie Monkhouse thinks he deserves more respect. Here's why...
"If there’s any ambition left in Burns – who now has a record of 41 wins, six defeats and one draw – he must beat Crolla, and in convincing fashion too."
An all-British blockbuster takes place at the Manchester Arena on Saturday. Ricky Burns and Anthony Crolla meet in a match-up that has dedicated followers of the domestic game excited. There's bragging rights on the line here, but more importantly, both men are fighting for their futures in boxing.
Ricky Burns and Anthony Crolla lost last time out in world title bouts. Lose again and they'll be forced into retirement, or at least into admitting their time at the top end of the sport has been and gone. But who will get the win needed to rejuvenate their career? The betting says Crolla, and without hesitation.
Crolla has won just three of his last seven
Stating with the favourite, Million Dollar Crolla goes into fight number 41 of his career with a record showing 31 wins, against six defeats and three draws. Two of those losses have come in his last two starts, going down to Jorge Linares on points last summer, and again in March of this year. That means 30-year-old Crolla has managed just three wins in his last seven outings, and one of them came against Hungarian Gyorgy Mizsei, who has lost 20 times already.
The jolly will take more from winning performances against Columbian Darleys Perez, who he stopped in five rounds with an eye-watering body shot, and the previously unbeaten Ismael Barros, the Venezuelan also sent to the canvas with a well-timed attack downstairs. The seventh round TKO of Barroso was the Manchester fighter's last win. He was then beaten on a narrow points decision by Jorge Linares, with margins of one round, two rounds and six rounds, before the same man put the argument to bed, Linares again besting Crolla on the scorecards, this time by a more convincing score.
Despite that patchy form, Crolla is picked to get back to winning ways, and Betfair traders offer the home town hero their full support, marking him up as a 4/9 favourite, while he's [1.47] on the Exchange. Each of Million Dollar's last two wins have come inside the distance, and you can back him at [5.8] to do the same vs Burns. A nice price, but let's not forget Ricky has never been halted inside the distance. That makes the points cheer a better option at [1.89].
Burns CV boasts some big names
Ricky Burns became Scotland's first-ever three-weight world champion, which is astonishing, but testament to just how good he has been since making his professional bow in 2001. A fantastic servant to British boxing, will he ever again compete at the top of the game? If there's any ambition left in Burns - who now has a record of 41 wins, six defeats and one draw - he must beat Crolla, and in convincing fashion too.
Many fight fans, especially those based north of the border, want to see Rickster in with Josh Taylor, but that surely won't happen unless Burns comes out of this test with pass marks. The 34-year-old Scotsman lost to Julius Indongo last time out in an upset, beaten on points by the wily African. Indongo has since been in with Terence Crawford, but failed to go three rounds, meaning the form of that loss in April doesn't look too good.
Ricky Burns may be a [3.35] outsider to beat Crolla in Manchester, but traders would do well to remember the class of opponent he has been in with, including Omar Figueroa, Terence Crawford, Raymundo Beltran, Kevin Mitchell, Michael Katsidis, Nicky Cook, Roman Martinez - you could go on and on - and has never been stopped. Take this bout to last the distance at 2/5 (Sportsbook) in your multiples, while I wouldn't put anyone off an interest play on Burns to win on points at [3.95]. We've seen time and again, it never pays to write Ricky off.
Burns to win @ [3.35]