WBO lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns has unbeaten switch-hitter Terence Crawford locked in the crosshairs, and he's enlisted the services of Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell to help with preparation for the bout, which takes place March 1 in Glasgow, Scotland.
“The sparring with Luke went really well and I couldn’t be more pleased,” Burns, THE RING's No. 3 rated lightweight, told RingTV.com last week. “I’m sure Luke will go all the way in the professional game, because he has his head screwed on, he’s talented and he’s committed. “We sent some time together outside the gym and he is really down to earth.”
Campbell, a rapid fire southpaw, won gold at London 2012 in the bantamweight class and has won four straight bouts as a professional. In his debut, the immensely popular 26-year-old headlined in his home city of Hull, England, and will do so again on Feb. 22.
Still, despite considerable acclaim, Campbell jumped at the chance to work with Burns.
“I was expecting a tough spar and that was exactly what I got,” said Campbell, who is promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable. “Ricky is world champion and I wanted to learn from him. I might have won Olympic gold, but I’m new to the professional game and this was a valuable lesson that will benefit me in the future.
“I’ve watched Terence Crawford and, although he’s an orthodox fighter, it’s not unheard of for him to fight full rounds in the southpaw stance," Campbell added. "It’s good that Ricky’s team are preparing for that, because in all likelihood Crawford will switch on the night.”
This isn't the first time Burns is the betting underdog, but he is far from fazed by the impending clash with Crawford, who is THE RING's No. 8 fighter at 135 pounds.
“I think this fight will be contested at long range,” said Burns (36-2-1, 11 knockouts). “Terence Crawford will do what he normally does — he’ll look to draw the leads and counterpunch, but I’ll be ready for that.”
Burns is currently in London sparring with former foe Kevin Mitchell among others.
Photo / Scott heavey-Getty Images
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing and please send feedback to [email protected]