Ricky Burns believes Terence Crawford is more dangerous than Raymundo Beltran
Ricky Burns feels Terence Crawford is a more dangerous foe than Raymundo Beltran, who held him to a controversial draw.
Last Updated: 14/01/14 3:20pm
The Coatbridge man clung on to his WBO lightweight belt after the judges could not separate the two fighters, despite Beltran flooring Burns in Glasgow last September.
Burns sustained a broken jaw in that contest and was clearly in agony as he bravely held the Mexican at bay.
A rematch with Beltran was the champion's choice, but the WBO ordered him to face Crawford, his mandatory challenger, and Burns will instead battle the American on March 1, live on Sky Sports.
Crawford is unbeaten in 22 fights, including a win over Amir Khan's conqueror Breidis Prescott, and Burns feels he could be a class above Beltran.
"It's going to be a very difficult fight for me," he told Sky Sports News.
"He's 22 fights undefeated. Everybody has been saying he's the next big star at lightweight, so just under seven weeks to go now and I'm going to find out myself.
"Training has been going ideal, so whatever happens on the night, I'm going to be prepared for it as always.
"After the last fight, I think everybody knew and I think the right thing to do was give Beltran the rematch, but the WBO, there was no way getting around this. I have to box Terence Crawford or get stripped of my title.
"But I feel this is a much tougher fight for me. Stylistically he's very very good and fingers crossed I can go out there and get the win, but we're expecting a hard nights work."
Fears were raised that Burns could be forced to retire due to the serious nature of his jaw injury, but he was cleared to continue his career after undergoing surgery.
He has recently started sparring again and is confident he can withstand more punishment.
"The injury is healing up nicely now. We started sparring last week, but we've been in full training for the last six weeks," he said.
"The countdown is on, there's under seven weeks to go, so I cannot wait to get back through those ropes now.
"I still don't know myself how I managed to get through the fight.
"The surgeon who did the operation said it was stupidity for carrying on, but being a fighter that's just the way that we are.
"The jaw is ready to go, the bone has knitted back together nicely. I was at the hospital a few weeks ago, we had it x-rayed again, just to be on the safe side. Everything is looking fine with it."