By Edward Chaykovsky
WBA junior welterweight champion Ricky Burns had the opportunity to make a much easier defense, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport.
Burns could have face former world champion Paulie Malignaggi in a fight that would have given him more money than his upcoming bout, but he was very firm on looking to challenge himself in a unification against a tougher opponent.
To satisfy the desire of Burns, Hearn finalized a deal with IBF, IBO world champion Julius Indongo – and that fight takes place at the Hydro Arena in Scotland on April 15.
Malignaggi saw himself get retired earlier this month, when he traveled to the O2 Arena in London and was knocked out by Sam Eggington. For his part, Indongo turned down several possible fights in the United States to face Burns.
Burns is hoping that a win over Indongo will help solidify his legacy in the sport.
"We offered Ricky Malignaggi, who is a good name and a good fighter, but he would have none of it. He would have been on better money than he is getting for Indongo. But as soon as he saw Indongo knock out Eduard Troyanovsky inside a round, he was on the phone demanding a unification bout," Hearn told Herald Scotland.
"It's the same for Indongo. They turned down fights with Adrien Broner and Terence Crawford because they believe he can beat Ricky."
Hearn was told by Top Rank, who promote WBO/WBC world champion Terence Crawford, that they will target the winner to stage a fight as soon as possible. Crawford won a twelve round decision over Burns in 2014 to win the WBO belt, and the Scottish fighter has been itching for a rematch ever since.
"Top Rank Promotions have already been on and whoever wins this one will be straight on the phone to Crawford. He has two belts and the winner of this one will have three and the chance to clean up doesn't come around very often."
"when you are bringing three belts to the table then you are in a position to make millions of dollars, albeit I have never met anyone who thinks less about money than Ricky does. For him, it's about achievement, legacy, and inspiring others."