Two of British boxing’s greatest overachievers: Crolla vs. Burns

Tom Dunstan

If you’re a fan of foul mouthed press conferences and build-ups that include the odd table being chucked, then it’s more than likely this won’t quite reach the drama levels we have become accustomed to.

But, despite a build-up that might not pack a punch, on October 7th arguably two of British boxings biggest overachievers will go toe-to-toe and put their careers on the line, live from the Manchester Arena in a winner take all bout.

Coming off the back of simultaneous defeats to two elite level operators, both Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns’s careers could not be more identical. Now entering the final chapter of their stories, both the Scot and the Englishman will be looking for one final shot at world title glory, while the other may be forced to consider their future in the sport.

Anthony Crolla (31-6-3,13 KO wins)

Since Ricky Hatton’s retirement in 2012, Manchester has found a new cult hero. With ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla’s well-publicised battle back from career and life threatening injuries, he has given his beloved Manchester crowd some of their most memorable nights, similar to ‘the hitman’ almost a decade before.

Crolla’s most famous night came in 2015 when the Mancunian stopped Darleys Perez to claim the WBA lightweight crown. 

As for his most recent bouts, Crolla’s fairytale story hit a bump in the road. That bump came in the shape of Venezualian slickster Jorge Linares. After dropping his belt in September, Crolla, was once again convincingly defeated in March.

With it announced that fellow Brit Luke Campbell will be the next challenger for the new lightweight king, Crolla will know what’s at stake come October 7th. An opportunity to complete the trilogy with his greatest adversary or the chance for a domestic dust up with Campbell come 2018.

“I’m not going to say the loser has nowhere to go, but it’s going to be a tough road back”. – Anthony Crolla

Make no mistakes tho, behind the gracious smile, Manchester’s favourite son is more than aware of what a third consecutive defeat will mean on his career. Crolla, however, will feel that the scales may ever so slightly tilt in his favour. With eight of his previous nine fights coming from Manchester, the hometown hero will be hoping to give his crowd another memorable evening.

Ricky Burns (41-6-1,14 KO wins)

Even being a 48 fight veteran and a three weight World Champion, it seems the ‘Rickster’ has spent the majority of his career flying under the radar, even being Scotland’s only ever three weight world champion.

Similar to his opponent come fight night, Burns is also coming off the back of a devastating defeat to a world-class fighter. Despite showing tremendous heart, the Scot was simply outclassed by the reach and the unorthodox style of Julious Indongo.

Unable to unify the division in front of his home crowd in Glasgow and with the dream of a Vegas super-fight all but shattered, many expected the 34-year-old would hang up his gloves.

Now hitting the twilight of his career, the Scot feels that he still has plenty left in the tank and will feel confident as he returns to a division where he enjoyed his greatest victories.

“All I seem to be getting now from people is ‘when are you going to retire? I still have another couple of years left in me. Nobody would know more than myself if it was time to call it a day”. – Ricky Burns

Despite the fight being touted for several years, the former super-featherweight, lightweight and super-lightweight world champion feels there is no better time for the two former sparring partners to meet. In fact, Burns has turned down several high-profile fights, including the challenge of promising compatriot Josh Taylor at 10st.

There is no doubt tho, come October 7th, only one of boxings nicest guys will be leaving with a career still in tact.

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