By Tom Gray
The big fight this weekend doesn’t place in a boxing hotbed like Las Vegas or New York but the locale for this one is frankly irrelevant.
On Saturday, at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, Terence Crawford defends his RING, WBC and WBO junior welterweight titles against IBF and WBA counterpart Julius Indongo in an eagerly anticipated unification showdown. Both fighters are unbeaten, both are on top form and both yearn for total supremacy at 140 pounds.
Former three-weight world titleholder Ricky Burns is the only man who has faced both combatants. The teak-tough Scotsman lost his WBO lightweight title to Crawford in March 2014 and his WBA junior welterweight title to Indongo earlier this year. Both defeats came by 12-round unanimous decision.
Despite those painful memories, Burns, who has commenced training for an all-British lightweight showdown against Anthony Crolla on October 7, was candid enough to review those setbacks and offer a prediction for Saturday’s main event.
“Indongo’s main strengths are his height, his reach and he’s a southpaw,” Burns told RingTV.com. “He’s just so awkward to deal with. Standing in front of him at a weigh-in is one thing but when you square off against him, it’s amazing how big and rangy he is.
“We had excellent sparring for that fight. We brought in boys who were tall and long, just like him but, as I said on the night, the better man won. It was those big left hooks he kept throwing. He kept catching me high on top of the head and when he’s banging them in, he can really whack.”
That sounds ominous to say the least, but Indongo’s opponent is rated No. 4 by THE RING pound-for-pound for a reason.
“Technically, Crawford is just so good,” said Burns with respect. “His ability to switch-hit kept him one step ahead whenever I tried to come in. He can draw leads off you and his counters are really good. His boxing ability is definitely superior to Indongo’s.
“I can see Indongo giving him something to think about for the first few rounds but Crawford is just so good at figuring you out. I think he’ll take over and he might actually force a late stoppage.”
Burns is obsessed with world title belts and has long harbored a desire to contest THE RING championship. On Saturday, however, he will adopt the role of fight fan.
“I’m gutted that I’m not involved, but it’s gonna be good,” laughed Burns. “It’s a great fight and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing