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Ricky Burns vs. Julius Indongo analysis and prediction

Ricky Burns

By Scott Gilfoid: The moment of truth has arrived for Ricky Burns (41-5-1, 14 KOs) in his unification fight tonight against the powerful southpaw Julius Indongo (21-0, 15 KOs) at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. Burns just turned 34 this week on April 13, and he’s going to have it tough in putting up his WBA World light welterweight title against the 34-year-old Indongo, who will have his IBF 140lb strap on the line for their unification fight at the SSE Hydro.

This is a watershed moment for Burns’ career, as he looked something awful in his last fight against Kiryl Relikh in squeaking by with a very unimpressive 12 round unanimous decision on October 7 last year at the same SSE Hydo venue that he’ll be fighting in tonight. The fight took place in front of Burns’ own boxing fans in Glasgow. I had the Burns-Relikh fight scored a draw, as I counted 6 rounds that Relikh got the better of Burns. When you win 6 rounds, you’re supposed to be getting a draw in the fight unless there’s a knockdown.

In this case, Burns never knocked Relikh down or even came close to knocking him down. The judges scored the Burns-Relikh fight 116-112, 118-110 and 116-112. I thought the scoring was out of this world bad. I kind of felt sorry for Relkh, because he was pretty much in the same situation as Ray Beltran when he came into Glasgow and totally dominated Burns, only to leave the place with a 12 round draw. I only gave Burns 2 rounds in that fight, and yet he was given a draw.

Heck, the only reason why Kiryl lost the fight was beaten he didn’t start fighting hard until the 7th round. Kiryl’s trainer Ricky Hatton should have put some head under his backside from round 2 and pushed him to wake up and start fighting. I don’t think Kiryl realized how much better he was then Burns until he was almost hopelessly behind in the fight.

Indongo is coming into tonight’s fight off of a big 1st round knockout victory over Eduard Troyanovsky in his last fight in December in Moscow, Russia. I don’t think Indongo was expected to win that fight, as he was facing a good puncher in Troyanovsky, who was fighting at home in front of his own boxing fans.

“This could be very, very close, but it is experience that might see Ricky home. Indongo might have a bit of naivety because of the way he blew the Russian out but even Terence Crawford couldn’t stop Burns,” said Johnny Nelson to I see Indongo going for the big early knockout but then tiring, and we know Ricky will finish strongly. It might be rough and it might be tight, but I am going for a close points win for Burns.”

It doesn’t matter that Burns was able to go the difference with Crawford. Indongo is a different fighter. If you look at the Burns-Crawford fight, Crawford was doing a lot of holding, and he wasn’t sitting down on his shots very much. Crawford has changed since that fight and become more of a puncher. I think he realizes now that the boxing public wants to see knockouts, so he goes after his opponents a little bit more nowadays in trying to get knockouts. Indongo is a better puncher than Crawford, and he’s got more of a seek and destroy mentality to him. Indongo is going to be looking to take Burns’ head off from the very start of the fight tonight. Just watch and see.

Burns’ recent wins were against Kiryl Relikh, Michele Di Rocco, Joshua King and Prince Ofotsu. Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn hasn’t matched him against guys that could potentially beat him like Rances Barthlemy, Antonio Orozco, Adrian Granados, Adrien Broner and Viktor Postol. If Burns wins tonight, he could finally face Broner later this year. I cannot see Burns winning that fight. Broner hits too hard and will likely have a weight advantage over him. It’ll be an interesting fight to see.

Here are the key for success for Burns:

– Hold frequently: I think it’s very important that Burns does a lot of holding tonight, because Indongo will be swinging for the fences with every punch. Indongo can literally miss 99 punches in a row, but if he catches Burns with his 100th punch, it could be goodnight for him.

– Move a lot: This is a standard thing for Burns to do. I don’t even need to remind anyone that this is a big key for Burns. He’s got to move like he always does because it could be bad for him if he stays in one place for any length of time. Burns has good boxing skills, but Indongo’s punching power can negate all of that if he can catch up to him.

– Use lots of head movement: The head movement for Burns was one of the reasons why he wasn’t knocked out in his last fight by Kiryl. Burns was able to move his head enough to avoid the shots that Kiryl was hitting him with.

– Jab and grab: Burns will need to limit the amount of shots that Indongo is able to throw in the fight, because the last thing he needs is to be hit by this guy. That’s why I see Burns choosing to use the old punch and grab technique tonight to keep Indongo from getting his shots off. I doubt the referee working the fight will do his job and penalize Burns for his nonstop holding. I think the ref will let Burns hold all night. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I will be. If Burns wants to clinch 20 times per round, I see him getting away with it. It’s so rare nowadays to find a referee that actually does a good job of controlling fighters that hold constantly. It’s kind of sad really. It’s nothing worse than seeing a referee standing around, blocking the view of the boxing fans, while one fighter clinches nonstop.

– Throw one punch at a time: Burns shouldn’t throw combinations in this fight, because it’ll leave him open to getting countered by Indongo.
Burns will be attempting to win his fifth consecutive fight tonight when he gets inside the ring with the 34-year-old Indongo, who comes from

Key to victory for Indongo:

– Cut off the ring quickly: Indongo will need to be able to cut off the ring in a speedy manner if he wants to catch up to Burns tonight, because he’s going to be doing a fair amount of running. If Indongo is slow on his feet, then Burns will get away with running all night.

– Throw combinations: It’s important for Indongo to throw combinations because he’ll likely miss a fair amount of time if he throws just single shots. By throwing combinations, Indongo will increase his chances of landing something big. In other word, Indongo must use the scattergun approach to beating Burns. Indongo will need to use the machine gun approach to stopping Burns.

– Fight hard in the clinch. Don’t just give up and let Burns hold all night.

– Focus on throwing a lot of body shots. Indongo can increase his connect percentage if he goes downstairs a lot tonight. Burns is hard to hit with head shots, especially if he knows his opponents is a head hunter. As such, Indongo should focus his attention on landing to the breadbasket of Burns, because he won’t be able to dodge those shots no matter how hard he tries.

– Do not decrease power on shots. Indongo should make sure he’s always throwing with maximum power, because that’s the only way he’s going to knock Burns out. If Indongo starts taking power off of his shots in order to make contact, then Burns will have him right where he wants him.


I see Indongo struggling in the first 6 rounds to land his big left hand power shots against a totally defensive Burns. However, in the second half of the fight, Burns will slow down like he did against Relikh, and he’ll be much easier to hit. I think Indongo will catch up to Burns and plaster him all over the canvas with a monstrous left hand to the head. Burns will crawl to his feet, but he’ll be far too hurt for the referee to allow the fight to continue. If the referee does make the mistake of letting the fight continue, then I see Indongo poleaxing Burns with a single left hand to the head that knocks him clean out.

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