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Ricky Burns vs. Julius Indongo in the works

By Scott Gilfoid: A unification fight between WBA World light welterweight champion Ricky Burns (41-5-1, 14 KOs) and newly crowned IBF 140lb champion Julius Indongo (21-0, 11 KOs) in the works, according to Fight News. The 33-year-old Indongo stopped former IBF champion Eduard Troyanovsky in the 1st round on December 3 in Moscow, Russia to capture his IBF title.

This is a pretty clever move on Burns’ part to be going after Indongo. You can argue the idea is for Burns to beat the flawed Indongo, and then vacate his IBF title as quickly as possible to avoid having to fight Rances Barthlemy and get knocked out by him.

That’s what I see Burns wanting to avoid. If he wins the IBF title, then he can sidestep Barthelemy by vacating WBA belt.

Burns, 33, and his management likely see weakness in the 5’10 ½” southpaw Indongo, because otherwise they wouldn’t be so eager to make this fight. To be sure, Indongo has looked BADLY flawed in many of his fights since turning pro in 2009. Indongo has a good left hand, but that’s about it. He doesn’t have a powerful right, and he often misses with his left hand and gets countered frequently. Before Indongo beat Troyanovsky, he’d looked very average in fights against the likes of Kaizer Mabuza, Ibrahim Class, Zolani Morali and Allan Kamote.

Indongo struggled with Mabuza and Class, and those are guys that would likely be totally dominated by the better fighters in the 140lb division. The fact that Indondo had problems with them is pretty telling. I can see why Burns is reportedly interested in facing Indongo, because it would be an easy way for him to win the IBF light welterweight title.

I think Burns’ last opponent Kiryl Relikh is a better fighter than Indongo, which tells you something. Relikh looked like a totally green fighter in his recent match against Burns on October 7. In terms of physical skills, Relikh was world’s better than Burns, but he didn’t have the know how to use his physical skills. If Relkh had been a polished fighter with great training, he would have literally wiped the deck with Burns.

That’s how much physical skills Relikh has going for him, but he looked like he wasn’t schooled properly how to use his physical gifts. That’s the only reason Burns beat him. I had the fight a heck of a lot closer than the 116-112 x 3 scored by the judges in the Burns-Relikh fight, which took place in Scotland.

I think it’s pretty important for Burns to snatch the IBF title from Indongo, because that would free Burns up from having to defend his WBA title against his next No.1 contender Rances Barthelemy, who will likely beat him. Burns has a couple of voluntary defenses he can use to mil his WBA title right now, because he just finished beating his No.1 Relikh last October.

I don’t agree with the WBA ranking a limited fighter like Relikh at No.1 above guys like Rances Barthelemy, Frankie Gomez and Adrian Granados. That ranking was something of a joke. However, the WBA did Burns a HUGE favor in ranking Relikh at No.1 instead of a much more polished fighters like Gomez, Granados or Rances Barthelemy, because they likely would have all beaten Burns.

Anyway, Burns can either milk his WBA title against two bottom feeders before facing one of the talents contenders that will likely beat him or he can go after the very, very vulnerable IBF champion Indongo win an easy title. Once Burns has the IBF title in his possession, then he can quickly vacate his WBA belt, so that he can avoid a potential loss to Barthelemy.

Vacating his WBA title would be a ‘business move’ for Burns, so that he could stay a champion a little while longer. I think that’s what Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn will have him do. The International Boxing Federation’s rankings are a lot easier for Burns to hold onto that title for a little, because the IBF has all the talented fighters ranked lower than the mediocre guys. For example, Frankie Gomez is rated No. 7 and Bathelemy rated No.10. The highest rated contenders in the IBF’s rankings are as follows:

3. Lenny Zappavigna

4. Sergei Lipinetc

5. Akihiro Kondo

6. Maurice Hooker

With those guys as the leading contenders, Burns might be able to milk the IBF belt for couple of years if he can get his hands on the title by beating Indongo.

It’s also a good move for Indongo to take the Burns fight, because I can’t see him being able to hold onto his IBF title against anyone in the IBF’s top 15 rankings. Indongo is really flawed in my view, and I can’t see him being the likes of Zappavigna if he winds up facing that guy anytime soon. At least if Indongo fights Burns, he’ll get a good payday in losing his IBF title.

Hearn has done a good job of rebuilding Burns’ career with the match-making he’s done for him. Burns was seen as a shot fighter in early 2015 after he’s been beaten by Omar Figueroa, Dejan Zlaticanin, and Terence Crawford. Burns has since won his last four fights against Prince Ofotsu, Josh King, Michele Di Roco and Relikh.

The reality is that Burns hasn’t gotten better. He hasn’t found the Fountain of Youth. The only thing Burns has found is some careful match-making by Hearn. Moreover, Burns has been helped by the weird rankings by the World Boxing Association, which has had flawed fighters like Di Rocco and Relikh ranked No.1 with their organization above the arguably much more talented fighters like Barthelemy, Granados and Frankie Gomez. If the WBA had two of those guys rated No.1 in 2016 instead Di Rocco and Relikh, then I think Burns would have lost to both and he wouldn’t be the WBA’s 140lb champion right now.

Burns beats Indongo without any problems unless he gets clipped by one of his left hands like Troyanovsky did. I don’t see that happening though, because Indongo telegraphs his shots really badly. You can see him throwing his power shots from a mile away.

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