Burns v Relikh: Ricky Burns joins Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya en route to glory

Ricky Burns joins an elite group who have gone the same route

In becoming Scotland's first three-weight world champion, Ricky Burns put his name among an exclusive list of fighters who took the same path to triple glory.

Burns makes the first defence of his WBA super-lightweight world title on Friday live on Sky Sports as he takes on unbeaten mandatory challenger Kiryl Relikh.

Only four other fighters won their first world title at super-featherweight before moving up to reign at lightweight and super-lightweight, and you will see the Scot has followed in some famous footsteps...

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Hector Camacho

Image: Hector Camacho won titles in seven weight divisions

Puerto Rican great Camacho was the first fighter to achieve the feat and it was in San Juan in August 1983 that he won his maiden world title, stopping Rafael Limon in the fifth round to claim the vacant WBC super-featherweight strap. 

After one successful defence, Camacho went in pursuit of lightweight glory and soon took on experienced Mexican Jose Luis Ramirez who he defeated via a unanimous decision to again capture the esteemed green belt.

'Macho' then overcame two former world champions, Edwin Rosario and Cornelius Boza-Edwards, to retain the belt before the southpaw star, still undefeated, once again moved up.

Hector Camacho (r) delivers a blow to the head of Roberto Duran
Image: Camacho (r) took the weights and names at will, like Roberto Duran

It was against Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini that history was made with Camacho winning a split-decision to add the vacant WBO super-lightweight belt to his collection.

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Despite the achievement, Camacho's illustrious career was still taking off and he later earned minor titles in four additional weight classes to become boxing's first septuple champion, including wins over none other than Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Camacho fought on until the age of 47 and eventually called time on his career in 2010. He tragically passed away two years later, aged 50, after being shot and wounded while sitting in a car.

Julio Cesar Chavez

WBC super-lightweight boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez
Image: Winning world titles was no problem for Julio Cesar Chavez

Considered the greatest Mexican boxer of all time and one of the pound-for-pound best ever, Chavez finished his career in 2005 with a record of 107-6-2-KO86, having gone 90 fights before he tasted defeat.

Known for his outstanding punching power, Chavez won his WBC super-featherweight and first world title by stopping Mario Martinez in California in September 1984.

After nine successful defences, he moved up to inflict the third defeat on Edwin Rosario and in doing so won the WBA lightweight title, and went on to unify the division against another familiar foe in Jose Luis Ramirez.

Julio Cesar Chavez throws a punch during a fight against Roger Mayweather
Image: Chavez completed his weight treble by beating Roger Mayweather

Chavez matched Camacho's three-weight record with a win over Roger Mayweather and again went on to unify the WBC and WBA belts, this time by stopping Meldrick Taylor in March 1990 in the Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year.

It was not until 1994, in his 91st fight, that Chavez tasted that first loss to Frankie Randall, a defeat that he immediately avenged.

Oscar De La Hoya

Oscar De La Hoya stands in his corner during a fight against Jimmi Bredahl in Los Angeles, California.
Image: Young Oscar De La Hoya won his super-featherweight title in his 12th pro fight

'Golden Boy' De La Hoya shot to stardom at the Summer Olympics in 1992, when he won gold in the lightweight division. Soon after, he turned professional and won his first world title in his 12th fight aged just 20, stopping Jimmy Bredahl in the 10th round to win the WBO super-featherweight title.

After one defence, he chased lightweight success and De La Hoya quickly dispatched Mexican veteran Jorge Paez to again collect the WBO strap.

He continued his ravenous unbeaten streak, taking on all-comers as he briefly added the IBF belt to his collection by blasting out Rafael Ruelas.

Oscar de la Hoya (L) lands a left against WBC Super Lightweight Champion Julio Cesar Chavez (R)
Image: De La Hoya (l) took over from Chavez at super-lightweight

In 1996, still just 22 years old, the Californian favourite again jumped up in weight as he challenged for the WBC super-lightweight belt. In his way however was none other than Chavez, who at the time boasted an almost perfect and unassailable record of 96-1-1.

In a gritty battle, De La Hoya sensationally defeated the Mexican legend in the fourth round, having left his face bloodied and bruised with referee Joe Cortez calling a halt to proceedings on medical advice.

Oscar had become boxing's golden fighter as his stardom reached an outstanding level. He went on to win world titles in the welterweight, super-welterweight and middleweight divisions, becoming a six-weight world champion.

Floyd Mayweather Jr

Floyd Mayweather
Image: Floyd Mayweather did what Burns has done ... and a whole lot more

Mayweather is widely considered one of the greatest boxers of all time and retired last year after he retained the Ring Magazine, WBC and WBA welterweight world titles by outpointing Andre Berto. 

With that victory he moved to 49-0-KO26, becoming one of few champions to retire from boxing with an unblemished record.

Having won Olympic bronze at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Mayweather won the first of his many world titles in his 18th contest as a professional, retiring Genaro Hernandez in the eighth round to win the WBC super-featherweight belt.

Floyd Mayweather, Jose Luis Castillo
Image: Mayweather was troubled by Jose Luis Castillo before winning the lightweight title

After eight defences, including a stoppage victory over Diego Corrales, Mayweather moved up to 135lbs and earned a controversial victory over Jose Luis Castillo to again hold the coveted green belt. Many had Castillo winning the fight and it was the closest 'Money' ever came to defeat.

In the rematch, Mayweather won more conclusively and he made another two defences before he joined the exclusive three-weight list, stopping the late, great Arturo Gatti in the sixth round of their 2005 contest for the WBC super-lightweight title.

The formerly named 'Pretty Boy' became one of the pound-for-pound best as he soon conquered the welterweight and super-welterweight divisions, leaving the likes of Ricky Hatton, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto in his wake.

Ricky Burns

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Britain's Ricky Burns makes the first defence of his WBA super-lightweight title against Kiryl Relikh

It may have taken him longer than some of the elite fighters but Burns became the first British fighter to become a three-weight world champion since Duke McKenzie in the 1990s.

He already had defeats to fellow Scot Alex Arthur and Yorkshire's Carl Johanneson on his resume when he challenged Roman Martinez for the WBO super-featherweight title in September 2010. 'Rickster' was down in the first but climbed back up to outpoint the champion and become Scotland's latest - and last - world champion.

Burns made three quick defences but weight became an issue and he stepped up to lightweight to take on Michael Katsidis for the WBO interim title, winning unanimously on points, and was subsequently upgraded to 'full' champion.

Ricky Burns beats Michele Di Rocco in eight rounds
Image: Burns made history by stopping Michele Di Rocco in eight rounds

He defended the strap three times before scraping a controversial draw against Raymundo Beltran, having suffered a broken jaw in the second round. Six months later in March 2014, the arrival of Terence Crawford saw the WBO lightweight title head to America and leave us wondering if Burns would call it a day.

Burns fought on but after a brave defeat at the hands of Dejan Zlaticanin, he switched to super-lightweight and after a warm-up fight took on Omar Figueroa in Texas, losing a close fight on points.

He flirted with lightweight again and won the vacant WBO International title in November 2015, before promoter Eddie Hearn landed him a shot at the vacant WBA super-lightweight belt in May this year.

Scotland was behind him and Italian Michele Di Rocco in front of him, and after eight one-sided rounds the boy from Coatbridge put his name in the history books.

Tale of the Tape - Ricky Burns v Kiryl Relikh

Watch Ricky Burns v Kirlyl Relikh and the undercard live from Glasgow, from 8.00pm, Friday, on Sky Sports 2.

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