No excuses from Burns as Indongo dominates
Martin Chesnutt reports from ringside in Glasgow as Namibian Julius Indongo dominates Ricky Burns, adding the Scotsman's WBA super lightweight title to his IBF and IBO straps...
“We are not that well recognised in the world of boxing but I warn you – do not underestimate us.”
The words of warning by IBF, and now WBA, super-lightweight world champion Julius Indongo ahead of his dominant win over Ricky Burns at The Hydro in Glasgow on Saturday night.
Scant YouTube footage of the Namibian late bloomer was all Team Burns and interested fans could find ahead of what the Scot described as the most important fight of his life. Whatever they saw, it wasn’t enough to put together a winning formula.
Prior to the fight Burns claimed to be in terrific shape, and made no excuses after the unanimous decision in favour of Indongo was announced.
The scorecards read 120-108, 116-112 and 118-110, confirming a dominant display in fight that quickly became a one-horse race.
During fight week Burns said he would take a few rounds to get a feel for Indongo, planning to take over down the stretch, but by the middle of the fight it was already too late.
Indongo compounded his size and reach advantage, with harder punching and the confidence to let his hands go.
Both men are 34 years old, but Indongo looked like a fresh up-and-comer, keen in his second world title fight, whereas Burns, after almost seven years of world title fights at multiple weight classes, looked slightly worn and trigger shy.
Burns was the betting favourite and backed by many pundits, but most of the logic offered in advance of the fight was based on the fact that so little was known about Indongo.
This changed quickly and, as early as the second round, there were murmurs of concern for Burns, as Indongo quickly took control.
The size difference when they stood toe to toe at the weigh-in on Friday was alarming, but seeing Indongo on fight night, it was astonishing just what a unit he is.
If Indongo can be described as a big super lightweight, he was huge in comparison to the man who in 2010 took the WBO super-featherweight title from Roman Martinez.
Namibia has produced a few very good fighters, but has never been considered a hub in the world of boxing. Nothing was ever going to come easy, or be given to Indongo.
With that in mind, Indongo came out quickly and did not relent for 36 minutes, firing punches until the end, perhaps wary of allowing the judges the chance to spoil his night.
At the end of the twelfth round, those in attendance could only applaud a real coming out party for the travelling champion, while waiting for the inevitable announcement.
When Burns raised his hand at the final bell, it must have been to acknowledge the fantastic support, as there is no way he could have felt he’d done enough.
After the fight people spoke about the possibility of Burns returning to the lightweight division to reduce the size and power disparities he faced in this unification bout, and for one final run at a title shot.
However, he hasn’t fought at that weight since 2014 and, speaking from experience, keeping the weight down once you have moved into your fourth decade is not easy.
The quality of Burns' CV and being a recognised name means opportunities will be there for Burns, but he will likely take his time before making any decisions on his future.
As for Indongo, he now holds two of the widely recognised four world titles at light welterweight and is being touted as a credible challenger to Terence Crawford, the man widely seen as the boss of the division.
Politics shouldn’t be a problem in making that fight, so let's hope the money is right, as it’s a contest that fans would love to see within the next 12 months.
As for the undercard, there were several talking points.
One punch can change everything. Welterweights were second on the bill, and Mark Weston started fast against Ally Black. His corner was lively and there was ringside encouragement from Dave Coldwell. Then Black threw a right hand, Weston was heavily floored and, although he beat the count, he didn’t look ready for any more action. The fight was called at 1 minute 38 seconds of round one.
Next up was Glasgow super bantamweight, Joe Ham. He won an entertaining ten-round scrap with Scott McCormack. However, the main talking point ringside was the fact that Ham, who apparently sold an enormous number of tickets, was left off the televised portion of the event.
Highly rated super welterweight Josh Kelly made his debut, and his team seem to rate him as they confidently matched him with Jay Byrne, who has a winning record. Kelly won the six-round fight by decision, and showed he is one to watch, despite the PBK stitching in his shorts and the occasional Mayweather Jr. imitation.
If Scott Cardle was previously seen by some fans as risk adverse in the ring, perhaps his promoter had a word in his ear, as he blitzed Kevin Hooper his last time out, and on this occasion was in a bloody tear-up, coming up second best against Robbie Barrett in an entertaining British lightweight title fight. Both men freely let their hands go, with Barrett given a deserved majority decision.
Chief support saw lightning quick Charlie Edwards show variety and a gear Iain Butcher was unable to match, winning a comfortable 12-round unanimous decision. Butcher had missed weight, and Edwards looked particularly sharp. The main questions for him and his team now are how long does he hang about at domestic level, and where can he develop the power to complement his skill set?