By Jake Donovan
The big fights will eventually come for Ricky Burns (36-2, 11KO), or so promised red-hot promoter Eddie Hearn upon signing the reigning lightweight titlist earlier this year. For the moment, the Scot gets his fourth straight homecoming, headlining a show in Glasgow for his latest title defense.
While not a truly big fight, what awaits the two-division titlist is arguably the division’s toughest challenger.
Hard-luck contender Raymundo Beltran (28-6, 17KO) has endured a lot of close, debatable decisions in maneuvering around the politics of the sport to reach the title stage. His patience and hard work results in his first ever title challenge, though he has to hit the road for such an opportunity, fighting outside of the U.S. or his birth country of Mexico for the first time in his career.
Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes this weekend’s major title fight plays out.
PREDICTIONS – RICKY BURNS vs. RAYMUNDO BELTRAN
“I think Beltran will outwork Burns but I don't see either man being able to hurt each other. I think that even though Beltran does more work, Burns will do the better work and win around 116-112.”
- Ryan Burton (Burns by decision)
“At his best, Burns should handle Beltran with room to spare. Anything less and the Scot will have his hands full. Beltran doesn’t roll over for anyone, and will undoubtedly go all in for his first title challenge. It’s up to Burns to rise to the occasion and treat it as a big fight until the truly big fights come along. My hunch is he survives a scare or two before taking over and winning by a comfortable margin on all three cards – and deservedly so, despite cries of robbery and home cooking.
- Jake Donovan (Burns by unanimous decision)
“There will be large stretches where it will appear that Beltran is schooling Burns but overall I think the scores will not reflect that and we see some tense moments when the scores are announced. Beltran is crafty, is more battle tested, and is riding some solid momentum and I expect that to translate into a clear (in my eyes) victory.”
- Ernie Gabion (Beltran by decision)
“Beltran’s power is going to send Burns running but Burns will have his moments which will be enough for the judges.”
- Timothy Kudgis (Burns by unanimous decision)
“Burns will have learned his lessons after being pushed and losing in his last fight to an unheralded opponent. This one will be much easier. Wide UD for Burns.”
- Richard Najdowski (Burns by unanimous decision)
“This could be a nail biter with Burns a little quicker and Beltran a bit more consistent. Ultimately, Burns home field probably edges the bout but maybe not without controversy.”
- Cliff Rold (Burns by decision)
“I’m picking against the grain because it is the year of the upset and the underdog. I think Beltran is a live underdog and could surprise Burns. It would be in Beltran’s best interest to go for the knockout, but he should just be at his best to pressure and work the body. Burns has won 21 bouts in a row, but most fighters he has fought were tailor-made for him. If he could counter or fend off Beltran, then it’s his fight to lose. However, Beltran has a hunger as a fighter and will be very dangerous in this fight. Beltran gets a split nod.”
- Francisco Salazar (Beltran by split decision)
“As difficult as is it to see Beltran walk into Scotland and win a decision, I think he'll get the nod as he will beat Burns over 12 fun rounds. Burns hasn't exactly impressed lately and was lucky Jose A Gonzalez decided to pack it in after Gonzalez was up on the scorecards. I think Beltran is coming into this fight motivated and will outwork Burns.”
- Luis Sandoval (Beltran by decision)
“The Gonzalez fight told me that Burns wasn't as good as many thought he was hyped to be. Still, the Scotsman is a very solid champion with underrated boxing skills. He will use them to frustrate the aggressive challenger in what should be a very entertaining scrap. At the end of the day, Burns will finish hard, proving his struggle against Gonzalez had more to do with the Boricua's unbalanced energy loss than anything else. Judges will assist the decision too.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Burns by majority decision)
Burns by UD, for my money, after getting into his groove around the mid-rounds point. It could be hairy early, Beltran needs this, but Burns came through a scare last time and should be at his best. He'll keep it long late to rack up points and bring home the W.
- Terence Dooley (Burns by decision)
Totals: Ricky Burns 7, Raymundo Beltran 3
The lightweight title fight between Ricky Burns and Raymundo Beltran receives live television coverage on both sides of the pond. The event serves as the televised headliner on Sky Sports in the U.K., and on Wealth TV in the United States (3PM ET).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox