Ricky Burns faces tough test against Omar Figueroa on May 9th in Texas
By Scott Gilfoid: In what has to be seen as a last ditch effort to try and revive his career, former two division world champion Ricky Burns (37-4-1, 11 KOs) will be back in the ring in the next two months to face former WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa Jr (24-0-1, 18 KOs) on May 9th in a fight that will be taking place at a still to be determined venue in Texas in the United States.
The fight will be televised on CBS as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series. Obviously there won’t be any titles on the line, as Burns has lost two out of his last three fights, and Figueroa has been declared WBC Champion in Recess for his WBC lightweight title by the World Boxing Council.
Burns will be turning 32 on April 13th, and he absolutely needs a victory in this fight to put him back in the top 15, as he’s slipped out of the rankings after his back to back defeats at the hands of Dejan Zlaticanin and Terence Crawford.
Burns didn’t even look good in his last fight against an obscure fighter named Alexandre Lepelley. However, if Burns can beat Figueroa, he’ll at least get ranked in the top 15 again.
I don’t see Burns being ranked high enough to get a title shot, but he would make it to the top 15 at least. It’s not hard to see Burns getting a title shot at the winner of the Kevin Mitchell vs. Jorge Linares fight on May 30th. If Mitchell wins that fight, it’s quite possible that promoter Eddie Hearn will setup a fight between Burns and Mitchell.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that match getting made. Of course, Burns will still need to do his part by beating Figueroa on May 9th, and I don’t see that happening. Figueroa is a pretty limited fighter, as we saw with his recent victory over Daniel Estrada last August, but he’s still looks to be a lot better than the way Burns has looked recently.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Ricky,” Hearn said. I’ve always felt Burns vs. Figueroa would be a fight of the year contender and now it’s made. Ricky is so motivated for this fight, it’s live on CBS in the States, Sky Sports in the UK; it doesn’t get much bigger.”
It is a great opportunity for Burns, but it’s one where things can go really badly for him with him getting beaten by the younger Figueroa. Burns likes to face guys that mix it up with him, and Figueroa will definitely be trying to do that in this fight. However, this isn’t a fight that Burns will be able to win by resting against the ropes, tying Figueroa up with clinches and arm bars.
Burns is going to have to actually fight in order to win, because I don’t see him being able to get a gift with the fight taking place in Texas. You’ve got to earn it over there. If Burns can handle going toe-toe with Figueroa without coming apart with a broken jaw or what not, then this could be the perfect fight to turn Burns’ career around.
Burns has looked poor in his last five fights against Raymundo Beltran, Jose Gonzales, Dejan Zlaticanin, Terence Crawford, and Alexandre Lepelley. The fact that Burns has looked so poor in those fights suggest that he may be over-the-hill, or it could be a case of him never being that good to begin with.
We really couldn’t tell how good Burns was for most of his career because he wasn’t facing quality fighters for the most part. But once he started facing better opposition, we then saw him start to struggle badly.
If Burns gets beaten badly by Figueroa, it’s going to be interesting to see if Eddie Hearn abandons ship by dumping Burns overboard rather than continuing to keep him as part of his Matchroom Sport stable.
You couldn’t blame Hearn if he did dump Burns overboard, because this would be arguably be the fourth loss for Burns in his last six fights. I count Burns’ fight against Beltran as a loss, because he was given what I feel was a gift 12 round draw in that fight. I had Beltran winning 10 rounds to 2 in their fight in Glasgow, Scotland.
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