By Keith Idec
Ricky Burns was so bothered by the one-sided defeat he suffered against Julius Indongo that the former two-division champion didn’t leave the house for more than two weeks.
Burns had seen brief footage of the unbeaten Namibian’s fights on YouTube.com and believes he prepared properly for a taller, left-handed opponent who had pulled off a one-punch, 40-second upset of former IBF junior welterweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky in his previous fight. Scotland’s Burns still couldn’t deal well with Indongo during their 12-round, 140-pound title unification fight April 15 in Glasgow.
“On YouTube, you were able to get a couple of rounds here and there from some of his fights,” Burns told Sky Sports while assessing Indongo’s full championship unification fight against Terence Crawford on Saturday night. “But we knew what we were getting – a tall, rangy southpaw.
“We did have the proper sparring, brought in guys who were similar in height and reach. But when I got in the ring, I could not believe how tall he was, and the length of his arms. He was a nightmare.”
Indongo beat Burns by big margins on all three scorecards (120-108, 118-110, 116-112) to defend his IBF title and take Burns’ WBA crown. Burns, who Crawford defeated for the WBO lightweight title three years ago in Glasgow, expects Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) to provide problems for the diverse, undefeated Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs).
“He’s just got that awkward style,” Burns said. “He could hit a bit and has got everything going for him. His height, his reach, he’s a southpaw. He’ll give anybody problems and I do see him giving Crawford problems for a few rounds, but Terence is good at adjusting.”
The 34-year-old Indongo is 5-feet-10½, about 2½ inches taller than Crawford. Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (28-1, 12 KOs) is three inches taller than Crawford, but Crawford dominated him in their partial title unification fight in July 2016.
Burns doesn’t think challenging Crawford in Lincoln, Nebraska, a 45-minute drive from Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, will affect Indongo at all.
Their ESPN main event will mark Indongo’s third straight fight near his opponent’s hometown. Before beating Burns in Glasgow, Indongo knocked out Russia’s Troyanovsky (26-1, 23 KOs) in Moscow.
“He’s going over to fight Crawford [near] his own hometown,” Burns said, “but I don’t think that crowd is going to be any more hostile than what he experienced in Glasgow. I think he will take it in stride.”
The 34-year-old Burns (41-6-1, 14 KOs) will return to the ring October 7, when he’ll encounter England’s Anthony Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KOs) in Crolla’s hometown of Manchester. Burns remains disappointed, though, that he couldn’t conquer Indongo to earn a rematch with Crawford.
“When I think back, I just couldn’t believe it,” Burns said. “After that fight, I didn’t leave the house for about two or three weeks. I was gutted. He’s going on to fight Crawford for all the belts and I’m gutted that I’m not involved in that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.