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Ricky Burn still having jaw problems, Crawford fight may not happen in February

Ricky BurnsBy Scott Gilfoid: WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns (36-2-1, 11 KO’s) is experiencing numbness in his recently healed broken jaw, and this could get in the way of his title defense against #1 WBO Terence Crawford on February 8th in Glasgow. Burns suffered a broken jaw last September in his controversial 12 round draw against Raymundo Beltran.

Burns says he thinks his jaw was broken as early as the 2nd round, and instead of quitting to limit the damage to his jaw, he continued to fight for the full 12 rounds and received a very, very controversial draw. It looked like Burns won one round of the fight, but the judges still give him a draw. The fight took place in Burns’ home city of Glasgow, Scotland.

In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the smartest thing in the world for Burns to fight 10 rounds with a broken jaw. I’m not sure if he realizes the danger he put himself in by fighting in that condition, but it looks like he’s paying for his decision with the numbness.

“The bottom part of my jaw is still numb,” Burns said to “I am told the feeling will eventually return but I don’t know exactly when. But it’s not causing me a problem. I am keen to find out how my jaw stands up to sparring.”

Burns is better off waiting as long as possible before taking the fight with Crawford, because that’s a fight that he’ll lose badly even at 100 percent. But if he goes into that fight with a numb jaw, then he can forget all about having a chance to win. What I don’t want is Burns bellyaching afterwards about how his jaw wasn’t ready for him to fight, and using that as an excuse for his knockout loss to Crawford. That’s why it’s better for him to rest until the thing fully heals. It would be a drag if the numbness was a permanent thing.

The World Boxing Organization is going to need to monitor Burns’ condition and make the fight decision if he needs an extraordinary amount of time to heal up before making his required title defense against Crawford. If Burns takes too much time, I would expect the WBO to give him an Emeritus status so that the WBO strap can be freed up for Crawford to fight over against Beltran or one of the other top contenders. We can’t have Burns licking his wounds for a year or so and having the top talents like Crawford aging without getting a shot at the belt.

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