Terence Crawford all the pressure is on Ricky Burns on Saturday night as the pair battle for the Scotsman’s WBO World Lightweight title at the SECC in Glasgow, live on Sky Sports – and says there’s nothing the 11,000 fans in the Arena can do to stop him.
The unbeaten American brings a fearsome reputation to Scotland with 22 wins and 16 of them inside the distance, and says he can handle the hostile home crowd as well as the champ in order to take the belt back to the States.
“Ricky has got the whole of Scotland depending on him,” said Crawford. “In the States we've got lots of World champions, in Scotland there's only one – Ricky Burns. The whole country is riding on Ricky because without him what is Scotland? The fans won't like it, but I am fine, I don't care, what can they do apart from yell and scream? I’ve fought the boos before and I'll do it again on Saturday.
“I knew I would have to come over to Scotland to fight Ricky, I have no problem with that, it's his fifth defence and he's earned the right to fight wherever he wants, that's cool with me. It's definitely my time now, it's been a bit slower than I wanted to get here but I am here now and I am ready to become a World champion, no doubt about it.”
Much has been made of Crawford’s lack of experience coming into Saturday’s fight – he has never boxed in a 12 round fight and has 81 pro rounds to Burns’ 281 – and there were even suggestions that he didn’t own a passport before he was told he’d be challenging the Scot on foreign soil.
Crawford laughed of that rumour and pointed out wins over Breidis Prescott (UD, 10) – who knocked out Amir Khan in one round in 2008 – and Alejandro Sanabria (sixth round TKO) as proof he can handle the pressure and rises to the occasion when he steps up.
“I've always had a passport,” said Crawford. “I travelled everywhere with the USA team so that's not true. We got stuck in Chicago trying to get over here because the plane didn't arrive, but it's not affected me at all.
“The media attention is no different to when I fought Prescott. I moved up a weight at short notice and won every round against him, easy.
“He's been around longer than me, done more rounds than me and been in more World title fights than me, but I heard all this before I beat Prescott, they said I couldn't go ten rounds and that he had too much experience for me and the same in the Alejandro Sanabria fight, it didn't go that way that night and it will be the same story here.”
Crawford’s World title challenge against Burns tops a great line-up of action in Glasgow, with Olympic Super Heavyweight Gold medal star Anthony Joshua MBE facing Hector Avila in his fifth pro contest.
John Simpson meets John Murray in a tasty Lightweight clash, while unbeaten Lightweight contender Scotty Cardle takes on Paul Appleby in an eight-round contest.
Joshua’s fellow Olympic medallist Anthony Ogogo is in action, Caldercruix Super Middleweight David Brophy looks to build on his 9-0-1 record on the bill, Glasgow Super Featherweight Michael Roberts can move to 14-0 with a win, former Team GB starlet Martin J. Ward is in six-round action while there is a trio of Scottish talents in four-round bouts in 20 year old Irvine Super Featherweight Ryan Collins, Wishaw’s Bantamweight Scott Allan and a debut for Glasgow’s Lightweight Ryan Smith.
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