As the title says…
Here’s the press conference announcing it:
First, some headlines from the conference:
- Burns will make his return May 11 in Scotland, although no opponent has currently been announced
- Matchroom plan to promote him primarily in Scotland.
- Eddie Hearn mentioned that the Broner bout was one they’d “move towards”. That said, with Broner talking about moving up to at least 140lbs (if not 147 and Paulie Malignaggi) in the near future I suspect that if there are any delays the bout won’t happen.
- Matchroom allege that Ricky Burns’ promotional contract with Frank Warren was terminated in the last week.
- Vazquez is still a potential opponent but it looks unlikely that he will be the man across the ring from Ricky on the 11th.
I guess the key point is the promotional contract one. Frank Warren has been telling everyone around that he still has a valid (and binding) contract with Burns and fully intends for the bout with Vazquez to go ahead on the 20 April card. As expected shortly after the press conference the solicitors letter came in and it looks like legal action is inevitable. Both sides appear confident (as they would) and without seeing the contents of any contract it’s hard to know who is in the stronger position. Eddie Hearn mentioned during the press conference that he had copies of the termination letter sent to Frank Warren which the media could see but as far as I’m aware the contents haven’t been made public.
As a fan I have to say I’m a little disappointed, mainly because it means the bout with Vazquez won’t happen, at least in the near future. I loved the matchup between the two and while it may have been one for the purists I thought it was a really significant bout between two criminally underrated boxers. Matchroom tend to give their marquee signings a soft opening bout and with only two months notice I doubt there’s a “superfight” style bout that can be made for Burns. Gavin Rees, who maintains a high ranking at 135lbs despite his recent loss to Broner, seems to be an obvious bout to make but it may be too soon for him to have another title shot.
My biggest worry is that the legal wrangling keeps Burns out of the ring for even longer. Warren will likely want a swift conclusion to try to keep Burns on his April card but we’ve all seen legal action drag on for months. With the threat of injunctions hanging over them it may be that Burns has to spend far too much time in press conference instead of between the ropes.
On the wider picture this is another big move for Matchroom and a fairly big blow for Warren if it goes through. Over the past few years Warren has seen almost all of his crop of developed talent either on the verge of boxing for world titles or holding belts leave… Kell Brook, George Groves, James DeGale and now Burns. Chisora looks to be a busted flush and despite the talent the likes of the Saunder’s brothers and Frankie Gavin possess they’re not truly established yet. Nathan Cleverly is probably standing alone right now as Warren’s only world class fighter who is fit and ready to go.
The reality for me at least is that I just want to see Burns box. Anything that helps him do that is a good thing, anything that stops it is a bad thing.