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Burns faces toughest night of career against unbeaten Crawford

| 01.03.2014

 Ricky Burns (36-2-1) faces the toughest night of his career when he faces unbeaten American prospect Terence Crawford (22-0-0) for the WBO lightweight world championship in Glasgow.

On what promises to be an intriguing night of boxing north of the border Crawford, backed by top American boxing promoters Top Rank, goes into the lion’s den to end Burns’ four-year reign as world champion.

There is certainly plenty of hype surrounding the Omaha-born fighter travelling from the US to fight Burns in his own backyard and that is reflected in his odds of 4/9 to win the fight with Ladbrokes.

Many believe the undefeated fighter to be a special talent after his classy points victories over Breidis Prescott and Andrey Klimov and his powerful sixth round TKO win over Alejandro Sanabria.

But the 26-year-old, who is looking to propel himself onto the world stage, is untested at the top level and has not fought out of the USA during his 22-fight professional career, both positives in favour of Burns.

The Scot, who is 15/8 for the win with Ladbrokes, will have to be at the top of his game if he is to defend his world title, something he was not against Jose Gonzalez and Raymundo Beltran in his last two outings.

It is widely thought the 30-year-old should have been on the receiving end of a defeat after the Beltran fight but the judges at ringside saw things differently when calling the bout a draw, a result which is priced at 25/1 to be repeated at the SECC.

However, Burns did have an excuse on the night for his poor showing last time out after breaking his jaw in round two but the Coatbridge fighter showed true courage in the face of adversity by battling to the end of the fight.

How the two-weight world champion returns following the injury, which has required a metal plate to be inserted into his jaw, will be interesting but he will have to rediscover the form which saw him beat Kevin Mitchell and Michael Katsidis.

Despite the performance against Beltran, what that fight does show us is Crawford will not be walking away with the WBO strap without a fight.

How will the slick American cope when Burns puts it on him? Will he be able to overcome the hostile Glasgow crowd? Is Burns’ career on the decline following his last two performances? Can he overcome the odds and produce the greatest performance of his career to date?

All these questions will be answered on Saturday night but all things considered, Crawford to become the new WBO world champion on points at 6/4 looks to be the best bet of the night.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew