Thankfully, the right man won the highly publicized WBO lightweight title bout on Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland. Hometown favorite and champion Ricky Burns was thoroughly out-boxed by the American challenger, Terence Crawford, but such things don't always shake out as they should in The Sweet Science.
On this night, justice was served. Crawford walked away with an unanimous decision victory and his first world title.
Per BoxRec.com, here are the judges' scores:
Salven Lagumbay 112-116, Alejandro Lopez Cid 111-117, Zoltan Enyedi 112-116
It was the first time a native of the state of Nebraska had ever become world champion in the sport of boxing. BoxBet's tweet expresses the feeling of relief after an accurate decision.
Crawford by decision lands at 9/5. Nice to have you back, boxing.— BoxBet (@Box_Bet) March 1, 2014
Burns knew who deserved to win the title. Always a gracious competitor and class act, he said this after the fight via Boxing News:
Ricky Burns; "The better man won on the night. He did well." #boxing— Boxing News (@BoxingNewsED) March 1, 2014
Through the weeks leading into the bout, Crawford wasn't exactly amicable with the media in Scotland. In fact, his demeanor seemed to put the locals off. Mix in that with the built-in support expected for Burns, and it seemed the challenger would be fighting an uphill battle.
There aren't many hills in Nebraska, but Crawford negotiated the proverbial ones without a problem.
Welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley congratulates his former sparring partner on his success:
@budcrawford402 congrats champ I told u after the first time we sparred u will be champion. Now raise to the top of boxing kid!!!— Timothy Bradley Jr. (@Timbradleyjr) March 1, 2014
Early on, there were a few hard-to-score rounds, but the middle frames were all Crawford. He battered Burns with stiff rights and lefts, and he appeared to hurt him on several occasions, though the tough champion never went down.
The challenger seemed to slow a bit in the 10th and 11th rounds. Sensing that Crawford might be opening himself up to the type of robbery that too often leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of fans of The Sweet Science, his corner urged him to go out and get the 12th and final round.
The Omaha native did just that.
He stunned the champion with a hard right hand, bringing Burns as close to dropping as he had been all night. He continued to mount an assault until the final bell. It seemed almost impossible that the judges could find a way to award Burns the bout.
As it should have been, no judge scored the fight closer than four points, and the right man won.
Crawford now has a few options. He could try to unify the titles by taking on Miguel Vazquez or another of the lightweight world title holders. He could even look into fighting Raymundo Beltran, the man who was robbed of a victory over Burns in his last bout.
Decisions like the one we saw on Saturday are what keep fight fans motivated to follow and remain in love with boxing. There is some value to the controversial decision, but when the outcome is as clear as this one was, injustice only dims the passion of diehards and taints the opinions of casual fans.
There are only so many George Groves-Carl Froch situations a fan can stand.
Thankfully, fight fans won't have to worry about that uneasy feeling—at least not in this one.
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