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Ricky Burns handed WBO lightweight title after Juan Manuel Marquez stripped of title

Image: Ricky Burns handed WBO lightweight title after Juan Manuel Marquez stripped of titleBy Scott Gilfoid: Ricky Burns (33-2, 9 KO’s) became the second of the UK world champions today when the World Boxing Organization (WBO) declared him to be the new full WBO lightweight champion after they stripped Juan Manuel Marquez of the title due to him moving up in weight to the light welterweight division.

It’s a pretty sad way to win a title if you ask me. Burns won a questionable decision in his last fight against Michael Katsidis and before that, Burns had taken three soft fights at super featherweight while holding down the WBO title. Had the opportunity to fight unbeaten talent Adrien Broner, but bailed on the fight to move up to lightweight instead. More than a few boxing fans saw this as a duck job by Burns to save his hide from getting smacked around by Broner.

Burns also becomes the second of the UK world champions to have a title handed to him without winning it in the ring, as WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly was given his title by the WBO after they stripped the previous champion Juergen Brahmer of his title after h suffered an injury can couldn’t make the fight with Cleverly. It’s not exactly how you’d like fighters to be picking up title belts, but I guess it sure the heck beats having to actually try and win it in the ring, doesn’t it? Come on, can you imagine what Marquez would do to Burns if they were to have fought? It would have been a massacre with Marquez toying with Burns until taking him out in the fifth or sixth rounds. The same goes for Brahmer and Cleverly.

Burns might not keep his WBO title for very long, however, because he has a fight scheduled against the powerful and talented former WBA lightweight champion Paulus Moses (28-1, 19 KO’s) on March 10th in Glasgow and Moses does everything better than Burns does in the ring.

Moses has much better power, a better jab and a lot better hand speed. The only things that Burns, 28, has going for him is a slight height advantage in addition to be younger than the 33-year-old Moses. I don’t see those factors helping Burns. A big part of his game is his jab and he’s not going to be able to beat Moses in a long distance tactical fight because Moses arms are longer by almost three inches and his jab is so much better.

I’ve studied the top fighters in the lightweight division and Moses has got the best jab out of all of them by far. His jab is like a power punch and he reminds me a lot of Wladimir Klitschko with his power jab. The only way I can see Burns winning this fight is if he gets one of those good old hometown decisions. The fight will be taking place in Burns’ home country of Scotland and that means that Moses may need a knockout to win.

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