by David P. Greisman
The last time Ricky Burns fought, he escaped with a controversial split draw against Raymundo Beltran, retaining his lightweight world title in the process.
Burns will again fight in his native Scotland for his upcoming defense March 1 against mandatory challenger Terence Crawford. Crawford’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, said he’s taken preemptive measures in an attempt to make sure the judges don’t unfairly favor the local favorite.
“I am concerned about that,” Arum told Marc Abrams of AWE, the network that will be airing the fight. “I’ve talked to ‘Paco’ Valcarcel, the head of the WBO, and he assured me that there’ll be better judges for the Burns-Crawford fight.”
One judge had Burns ahead 115-112, giving Burns eight of the 12 rounds (Burns was knocked down once). Another judge had it even at 114-114, while the third judge had Beltran ahead by a score of 115-113.
The BoxingScene.com awards for 2013 named Burns-Beltran as one of the two robberies of the year; the other was Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s decision win over Bryan Vera.
Burns, 30, is 36-2-1 with 11 KOs. He is returning from a broken jaw he suffered in that bout with Beltran.
Crawford, a 26-year-old from Omaha, Neb., is 22-0 with 16 KOs. He last fought in October, outpointing Andrey Klimov.
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