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Johnny Nelson says Ricky Burns needs to regroup but should not have a rematch with Terence Crawford

Johnny Nelson Posted 3rd March 2014 view comments

I am going to be brutally honest and say that what we saw in Scotland on Saturday night was Ricky Burns' level.

Jim Watt summed it up perfectly when he reminded everybody that boxing is a hurtful game and a pain game and sadly, the bottom line is, I don't think Ricky can move up a level.

Parting company: Ricky Burns should stay well clear of Terence Crawford, says Johnny

Parting company: Ricky Burns should stay well clear of Terence Crawford, says Johnny

Yes he was a fantastic world champion and you can do nothing but admire his heart, his desire and his determination, but we all wanted to see if he had the skills that could mix it with the best.

Well, he couldn't and again if I am honest, there is no point in going for that rematch with the new WBO lightweight world champion, Terence Crawford.

It is one thing having the strength and will-to-win we have all seen from Ricky Burns but if he is going to be a world champion again, he needs to work on the technical side of things because he clearly came up short.

Johnny Nelson
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Crawford was good and what he did to Ricky reminded of me of what Andre Ward did to Carl Froch a couple of years ago. He baffled him, out-skilled him and just slowly but surely took everything away from him. Have we ever really heard Carl calling for a rematch? Exactly.

You can understand why Ricky did that because after 11 world title fights - which few people do at any level these days - he wants to keep his name in the mix.

It is one thing having the strength and will-to-win we have all seen from Ricky but if he is going to be a world champion again, he needs to work on the technical side of things because he clearly came up short.


Burns himself was the first to admit it. People wondered why he was smiling going into the last round when he should have been going hell for leather. Well, he knew that he was out-classed, he knew that Crawford was way better and you can understand that Ricky was just relieved to have gone the 12 rounds.

If you give it your all and lose you just have to hold your hands up. That is what we saw from Ricky, that is why he was happy to give Crawford all the credit he deserved because he knew this kid was a level above.

We all wondered if Crawford would be that good, whether he could manage the championship distance and whether or not he can box out of America. Well, I think we all know how good this guy is.

I gave Ricky a share - not even a round - of the first two but from then on in we just saw the difference become clear. The Scottish fans are brilliant and they knew their hero was in for a hard night but would still be right behind him. They were but there was no booing, no jeering, nothing, because they soon realised there was nothing Ricky could do.

Crawford looks like the real deal, a real world-class fighter and although he was far from perfect, you can see him improving as he moves up a level.

The big question now is if Ricky can regroup and stay in the mix. Well, he will need to change because he needs to improve technically, no longer just focus on that strength and power.

We all want Ricky to stick around because he is such a nice guy, such a brave fighter and one who has done so well as a world champion. Whether he will or not remains to be seen. But a rematch with Crawford will only make things worse.

John Murray v John Simpson

It is good to see John Murray back and we always like watching John Simpson, so it was a surprise it lasted just two rounds. Apparently Murray has overcome the distractions and hassles that got in the way of his boxing and he looked hungry again, which is good. I've always liked his style and he is never in a dull fight, but the one thing that stuck out was the difference in size.

Murray looked a division above Simpson and although the bodyshots were good and he did well to get up after the first one, Murray didn't have to do much more. He had his measure in size alone. Now the talk is of fighting Anthony Crolla and that will make a cracking domestic fight, especially with Joe Gallagher's role!

Anthony Joshua v Hector Alfredo Avila

I think it's quite clear that Anthony Joshua is struggling for proper tests. Hector Alfredo Avila came with a decent reputation and we never find Argentinian's that easy, but this one was out of his depth.

Anthony did pick his shots well before ending it after the opening two minutes, but in my opinion he needs tougher tests now. Match-making is now the most important part of his progress. Be it a guy who is the same height and reach; a guy who is going to push him back and make him box on the back foot; or someone who is there to spoil, to survive, Joshua needs testing. He wants to get in the British top 10 but until he has had these varied opponents I don't think the like of Matt Skelton or Michael Sprott are what he can cope with... for now.

Anthony Ogogo v Greg O'Neill

I expected Anthony Ogogo to get through this of course and the one thing you can say it is part of the learning process. That is the most important thing and I hope Ogogo learns more and more.

Against Greg O'Neil he looked OK but the one thing that let him down was the way he came out all guns blazing. You can understand young fighters wanting to really put on a show but Anthony came out trying to finish it in the first two rounds. Trying too hard is understandable but at this level it is not all about winning, simply because they are expected to win, it's about how they do it.

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