When Terence Crawford (22-0, 16 KO) takes the ring in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday, he will almost certainly hear a chorus of boos.
Not only is the Omaha, Neb., native traveling behind enemy lines to take on Scotland's favorite son and reigning WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns (36-2-1, 11 KO), he also hasn't warmed up to the local media.
In opportunities to sell his personality to the press, Crawford has elected to take the stoic and introverted approach.
On Saturday night, it will truly feel like he and his team are up against a nation. He'll be charged with going into hostile territory and coming away with a win.
Burns hasn't looked great in his last two fights, so he's not only fighting to keep his title against a talented challenger, but he's also trying to restore the shine to his reputation.
It's a thrilling main event on a card that also features Olympic champion Anthony Joshua, in his fifth pro contest, facing Hector Avila.
Here's how you can watch the night of fights from Glasgow.
When: Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m. EST
Where: Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, Scotland
TV: Sky Sports
Live Stream: Sky Broadband Unlimited (Subscription Required)
The Book on Crawford
Confident, defiant and surly are the terms that best fit the demeanor Crawford has had since arriving in Scotland in preparation for the biggest fight of his career.
He's all business, and if he had it his way, that business would not have included talking to the media at the press conference.
Per Hugh Keevins of the Daily Record: "[P]utting anything into historic context, or even exhibiting simple manners, was the furthest thing from Crawford’s mind. He arrived on time for his scheduled press call but punctuality was the only virtue he had to offer."
Crawford and his team haven't shown a ton of respect for Burns or Scotland's sports accomplishments. Per David Anderson of The Mirror, Crawford said this to reporters once he opened up a bit at the presser:
Ricky has got the whole of Scotland depending on him. In the States, we’ve got lots of world champions. In Scotland there’s only one - Ricky Burns. The whole country is riding on Ricky because, without him, what is Scotland? The fans won’t like it, but I am fine, I don’t care. What can they do apart from yell and scream? I’ve fought the boos before and I’ll do it again on Saturday.
Per Jim Black of The Scotsman, Crawford's manager Brian McIntyre says Burns has the talent of a "Golden Gloves runner-up."
Can't you just feel the love?
Crawford was particularly unimpressed with Burns' last bout in September 2013. Burns deserves some credit for fighting 10 of the 12 rounds with a broken jaw. But he was fortunate to escape the bout with Raymundo Beltran with a draw. Most believed he deserved to lose the fight, and you can count Crawford in that number.
The challenger told the press, per Black:
"I watched his last fight and he didn’t win it. He lost."
On Saturday, Crawford will have to back up his talk—and silence—with a strong performance to leave Scotland as a world champion.
The Book on Burns
Burns could easily be on a two-fight losing streak. In May 2013, he was losing on every card when his opponent, Jose A. Gonzalez quit before the 10th round with an injured wrist.
Then there was the dreadful decision to award Burns a draw after he was clearly beaten by Beltran.
You'd think Burns was from Ireland because recently he's been blessed with the luck of the Irish.
Toughness has never been a question when it comes to the champion. At 5'10", he's long, rugged and has some of the best cardio you'll find in boxing.
Mix in a whole heap of home cooking from the Scotland faithful—and quite possibly the judges—and Burns is still a formidable champion.
His heart, pride and competitive spirit will serve as a major driving force toward redemption against Crawford. Per ESPN.com's Dan Rafael, Burns has made adjustments to his training regimen to better prepare himself for his upcoming title defense.
I really think we have replicated what [Crawford] will bring. I felt as if for the last couple of fights we were doing too much sparring and circuits work, and although I was in great shape, it was getting a bit repetitive for 12 weeks before a fight.
The 6 a.m. starts for the hill sprints haven't been great fun as I'm not a morning person, but I soon got into the routine and I've really loved this camp and I think it's going to benefit me on fight night.
Burns' promoter Eddie Hearn seems to be banking on the bright lights of a championship fight in a foreign land being too much for Crawford. He also cited Crawford's lack of world-class competition as a point of contention.
He told Tom Gray of The Ring Magazine:
Look Crawford has never fought outside of the US and on Saturday he’s stepping out in front of 10,000 Scottish fans. The guy won’t know what’s hit him but, on the flipside, he might live up to the hype and be absolutely brilliant.
I’m just not a believer because his best win is against Breidis Prescott, who was easily beaten by Kevin Mitchell among others.
The fans will certainly be a factor on fight night, but Burns and Hearn can't look for those in attendance to win the fight for the champion. When the bell rings, there will only be two fighters in the ring.
Who wins Burns-Crawford and how?
Beating Burns will never be an easy task. The guy is too experienced, proud, competitive and his stamina is excellent. That said, Crawford's boxing skills and athleticism are superior. He has more punching power, better defense and footwork.
Some might point to his quiet demeanor and small-town upbringing as a potential negative on such a big stage, but it will be the exact opposite.
Crawford is in fight mode and he has tunnel vision toward a world title. He'll make this fight look relatively easy and stop Burns via the referee's intervention in the ninth round.
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