By Paul McLaughin – Manchester witnessed a fantastic lightweight showdown on Saturday night with the long awaited bout between two former world champions Ricky Burns and Anthony Crolla. A fight that many couldn’t call but one which lived up to the expectations from the first bell.
Crolla is a marauding relentless boxer with energy which seems to be powered by his cheek to cheek smile. He started very well and put pressure on Burns from the word go whilst the Scot seemed to be wary of Crolla and tried to pick him off with his superior jab, however Burns struggled to find his range and the non stop pace put him on the back foot.
Crolla easily won the first couple of rounds with Burns coming back into things midway through the bout but not enough to hurt his opponent greatly. The Mancunian sustained a bloodied nose in the later rounds but still looked like the aggressor throughout. Ricky Burns picked things up in the championship rounds although this fight wasn’t for a title or belt it was more a prelude for belts to come.
A final flourish from both fighters gave the fans what they came to see and I think both boxers would’ve happily fought a few more rounds and we would’ve gladly watched.
The judges gave the fight unanimously to the home town fighter scoring it 116-113, 116-114 and 117-112 leaving Crolla beaming from ear to ear and Burns feeling hard done by. It was the right decision as Crolla’s work rate edged it for me so its back to the drawing board for Burns and Crolla has not ruled out another domestic dust up, this time with eyes on Luke Campbell. Wherever Crolla goes next his Manchester crowd will follow and they will be hoping that another title comes to Manchester in the next year.
LIL BENN COULD BECOME BIG BENN
On the under-card of the Crolla – Burns fight, Conor Benn fought against local boy Nathan Clarke. Benn came out the victor in the very first round putting Clarke down twice before the referee intervened. Although short it was a measured boxing display from the Dark Destroyers son and certainly was his best and most solid performance to date.
What pleased me most was the fact that he has a strong team behind him and he is in no rush to go for big names just yet. Will Conor match his fathers achievements? well he is on a learning curve and gets better with every fight and I believe that within 2-3 years he will have a championship belt or two to bring home.