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Hearn wants Crolla vs. Burns rematch in Glasgow

Ricky Burns

By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn is interested in getting his fighters Anthony Crolla (32-6-3, 13 KOs) and Ricky Burns (41-7-1, 14 KOs) back inside the ring in a rematch in in the first quarter of 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Crolla beat Burns by a 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night by the scores 116-113, 116-114 and 117-112. The fight was close enough to be scored a draw, but of course not with these judges. Crolla was fighting at home at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The fans were on Crolla’s side, as you would guess. Burns wasn’t pleased at losing the fight, because he felt he did more than enough to rate the victory.

Crolla, 30, says he wants to win another world title. However, the options for Crolla to try and accomplish that are bad ones now. Crolla would need to beat one of these champions for him to win a world title at lightweight:

• Robert Easter Jr.

• Mikey Garcia

• Jorge Linares

• Terry Flanagan

A rematch between Burns and Crolla in Glasgow in early 2018 would likely bring in far more money than a match between Crolla and one of the above world champions. Crolla has already fought Linares twice and lost. I’m not sure there’s a market for a third fight, and Crolla would almost surely lose to Linares once again. The difference in levels between the two fighters was far apart. Crolla matches up better with Burns than Linares. Crolla vs. Flanagan is a fight that might not sell either.

Flanagan isn’t a popular champion. Besides that, trying to put a fight together between those 2 could be difficult. With Flanagan being the WBO champion and Crolla the voluntary challenger, it would be tricky to arrange the fight. If Flanagan wants the lion’s share of the revenue for the fight, then it’s probably not a doable fight. Crolla’s promoter Eddie Hearn made it clear during the post-fight press conference last Saturday night that Crolla would need to get the major portion of the revenue for a fight against Flanagan to happen.

“Obviously my aim is to try and win back a world title,” said Crolla.

It might be a mistake for Crolla to waste time going after a world title right now. I don’t see him beating Robert Easter Jr., the IBF belt holder, or WBC champion Mikey Garcia. We already saw Crolla lose twice to Linares, so that’s a waste of time to fight him again. As I mentioned, putting together a fight against Terry Flanagan could be difficult, and I don’t know that it would sell. I don’t see Crolla beating Flanagan. The guy is too big and too strong for Crolla in my opinion. After Flanagan rehydrates, he looks like a welterweight. Crolla would have a lot of problems with Flanagan’s power and size.

It would be smarter for Crolla to go for the rematch with Burns in his next fight. After that, Crolla go could after the WBC belt once Mikey Garcia vacates it and moves up to 140. There’s a possibility that Mikey vacate his WBC title in the next few months. If so, Hearn spoke of matching Crolla and Burns against each other to fight for the vacant WBC belt. It’ll be interesting to see if Hearn can swing that deal with the World Boxing Council. But if anyone can do it, I believe Hearn can put that deal together. It might not be fair to all the higher ranked contenders in the WBC’s top 15 rankings at 135, but this is how things are done in boxing. The fighters with top promoters tend to get the big fights for world titles, whereas the guys that aren’t connected tend to get skipped over. The sport of boxing obviously has a long way to go before it’s run as smoothly – and fairly – as the other sports like the NFL and NBA in my opinion. I think there’s a professional wrestling quality to boxing with how well-connected fighters get opportunities that other fighters that aren’t connected don’t get.

“I think the rematch is an obvious fight,” said Hearn in taking of the Crolla vs. Burns fight. “I’ve got to make sure it’s very lucrative to both. Luke Campbell is still in the mix. You got Terry Flanagan. You got Robert Easter. Very few fighters can generate the type of atmosphere that Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns does. Anthony is at the stage in his career where world titles are very important, but also so are big fights. They’re in the final stages of their careers, and it’s my job to get what they deserve, which is making as much money as possible. If Ricky Burns likes the money in the rematch, and Anthony Crolla likes the money in the rematch, it happens every day of the week. They’ll have a couple of weeks and we’ll work on it. I guess they’ll be looking at March or April to come back and start looking at the date for the next fights,” said Hearn.

So, there it is. Hearn is leaning towards possibly making a Crolla vs. Burns rematch in Glasgow. It’s a smart move for Hearn to make that deal, as there’s money to be made in a rematch between Crolla and Burns in Glasgow. The outcome of last Saturday’s Crolla-Burns fight might have been entirely different if it had taken place in Glasgow, which is Burns’ hometown. If Burns got the decision, I wouldn’t call it a robbery. It would be a case of the judges valuing Burns’ harder, cleaner landing shots over the lighter high-volume style of Crolla. Personally, I had the Crolla vs. Burns fight scored as a 12-round draw. If the fight had taken place in Glasgow, I could easily have seen Burns get his hand raised. Crolla didn’t win a hometown decision, but I think it helped him last Saturday get the nod in a fight that arguably should have been scored a draw. It looked like a tie to me. Neither guy did enough to deserve the victory.

”You got the Terry Flanagan fight,” said Hearn. ”We’re not going to be abused because we’re the voluntary challenger. It doesn’t work like that. No disrespect to Terry Flanagan. He’s a very good fighter; he can’t sell 3,000 tickets in an arena. So, Crolla is selling double digits every time he fights for the last 3 times. He’s not desperate to fight for a world title. He’s not going to roll over and say, ‘I’ll do anything to fight, just give me $100 grand and I’ll walk out.’ For me, he’s got to get the lion’s share in that fight. That’ll get you laughed out town, but that’s how I feel about it. I won’t make the decision. Anthony will make the decision. It’s not a case of, ‘whatever you say; we want a shot at a world title.’ This is a very critical stage in his career where we got to make sure that every fight counts, and that’s exactly the same for Ricky Burns as well. Easter is the type of fighter where you bring it to Manchester. No one has ever heard of Easter, so he’s actually quite a tough sell. You know what? He’s bloody good as well. They all are, aren’t they? Mikey Garcia might not stay around. Those two [Burns and Crolla] could fight for the vacant WBC world title,” said Hearn.

There you have it. Hearn says Robert Easter is very good, but a fight between him and Crolla would be a tough sell in Manchester. More than the fight being a “tough sell” is the fact that Easter is very, very good. Crolla would have a nightmare with Easter’s punching power, long reach and amazing boxing skills. A fight between Crolla and Easter would have a bad ending for the “Million Dollar” Crolla in my view. I wouldn’t make that fight if I were Hearn. Crolla might end up face down on the canvas in short order, and that might hurt his marketability in a major way. Crolla has already proven he can take Burns’ power, so a rematch between those 2 should take center stage. That should be the fight that Hearn is looking to make rather than sticking Crolla in with champions that he doesn’t have the talent to beat right now.

Like I said, if the WBC lightweight title becomes vacant with Mikey moving up to light welterweight, then Hearn should use his negotiating muscle to push the WBC to allow Crolla-Burns to fight for the vacant WBC belt. Other than that, I wouldn’t be in a rush to throw Crolla into the ring with Mikey Garcia, Easter, Linares or Flanagana. Those are all knockout losses for Crolla in my opinion. He might survive the full 12 rounds against Flanagan, but he would take an enormous amount of punishment in that fight and he wouldn’t win. Given that Flanagan isn’t popular, I would never make that fight if I was Hearn unless Crolla was insisting on taking it.

“Whatever the best opportunity is,” said Crolla. “As Eddie says, whatever makes business sense as well?”

It’s good that Crolla is sounding like he’s going to listen to Hearn rather than push him to make a fight for a world title. Hearn will obviously look to make fights that make the most business sense for Crolla. At this stage in Crolla’s career, he needs to go after the money, even if it means bypassing world title shots.

“I think it was close. I had Anthony nicking the fight,” said Hearn to IFL TV about the Crolla vs. Burns fight. “I had Anthony winning by a couple of rounds. The truth was that Antony was more active in the fight. Ricky landed the cleaner shots, but Anthony threw more. It was a close fight between 2 exciting men. I think that was Ricky Burns’ best performance in 7 or 8 fights. He showed he has plenty left in the tank. They want the rematch in Scotland,” said Hearn.

I wouldn’t say that Burns looked the best he had in his last 7 or 8 fights. I thought Burns looked better in beating Kiryl Relikh. He used a lot of movement and speed to defeat Relikh. Against Crolla, Burns was slugging more, which left him vulnerable to the high-volume attack of Crolla. Burns would have been better to box Crolla instead of slugging as much as he did. However, with the fight taking place in Crolla’s backyard in Manchester, Burns was kind of forced to attack him at every opportunity. He wouldn’t have likely gotten the nod if he boxed Crolla.

”Anthony’s looking at his options,” said Hearn. “Anthony has come back from 2 defeats. That was a big win for his career. Ricky Burns, although he lost, he showed he has plenty left in the tank. I had Crolla winning by a couple of rounds. I have Burns the last round, because I thought he finished really strong. If he had done that in the 10th and 11th, he might have had an excuse for a draw. I thought Crolla had the better work rate. Burns had the cleaner shots, It was a very close fight,”
I’m not sure which fight Hearn was watching, but I had Burns pressuring the heck out of Crolla and getting the better of him in rounds 10, 11 and 12. It wasn’t just the 12th round where Burns landed the better shots. I think he took over the fight in the championship rounds, as Crolla was dog tired and not the same fighter he’d been in rounds 1 through 8.

”For Crolla and Burns, I’d like to do it again in Glasgow,” said Hearn. ”Crolla, I’m sure he’s looking at world title fights as well. You got Robert Easter, the IBF champion. You see what happens with Linares’ belt and Mikey Garcia. I don’t think you’ll ever see Mikey Garcia at 135 ever again. You’ve got Terry Flanagan. He’s going to box in November or December. It could be a big fight in the spring. Me personally, I’d like to see it again in Scotland. They’d raise the roof for it again,” said Hearn.

It’s easy choice to make for Crolla’s next fight. It’s clear that he needs to fight Burns a second time. You can’t put Crolla in with any of the current champions because they’re too good for him and/or aren’t popular enough to make it worthwhile. Even if Crolla got lucky and won one of the world titles, he’s not going to keep the belt for long. There are too many young contenders in the lightweight division that would be circling Crolla and looking to take his 135-lb. title away from him almost immediately.

“American is always asking for Ricky Burns,” said Hearn. “He’s a great name. He’s a 3-weight world champion. You got the Luke Campbell fight for either man to look at. Maybe Luke Campbell wants to go to Scotland and fight Ricky Burns. Maybe Anthony Crolla wants to fight Luke Campbell. Anthony has more options moving forward than Ricky, but Ricky is showing that he still has options in the sport,” said Hearn.

Crolla might have more options than Burns for money fights, given that he packs Manchester each time he fights, but he’s not a better fighter than Burns in my opinion. That hasn’t been established. Crolla has more options for money fights, and that’s about it. Hearn seems to be very interested in getting Crolla or Burns to fight the recently beaten Luke Campbell. Obviously, Hearn wants to turn Campbell into a star. Unfortunately, Campbell has now been beaten twice, and he seems to have a chin problem and he lacks hand speed. I don’t know how much longer Campbell can make 135. The guy looks like a light welterweight that melts down to lightweight to fight smaller guys. It’s not in Crolla or Burns’ best interest to fight Campbell. He has no belt and he was just beaten by Jorge Linares. There’s no upside for Burns or Crolla to fight Campbell.

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