RICKY BURNS, the World Boxing Organization lightweight champion from Coatbridge, has vowed not to let his row with his former promoter Frank Warren wreck his title defence against the American Terence Crawford at the SECC on March 1.
Burns has chosen to leave it to his manager, Alex Morrison, to deal with all matters outside the ring after explaining yesterday: "Alex has been really good with me and told me just to concentrate on the fight, which is the most important bit for me."
Burns was also at pains to stress that the broken jaw he suffered against Raymundo Beltran in September has not left any psychological scars. "I have been sparring for the past three weeks and I've taken a few skelps and it seems to be holding up okay," he said.
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"In my first sparring session with David Brophy I told him not to hold back because, if it was going to happen again I would rather find out in the gym than in a fight, and he didn't pull his punches.
"I haven't been using any special protection, just the usual head gear, and I like to know in my head that my jaw's okay. I had it X-rayed a few weeks ago before I started sparring and the doctors were confident enough to tell me just to get stuck back.
"They said the bone had knitted but to maybe give it an extra week because they could still see a hairline fracture and that's why the date was moved to March 1.
"This isn't the biggest fight of my career but it will be a totally different one to Beltran who is a come forward type who likes to try and drag you into a fight, whereas Crawford is more of a boxer, a very slick switch-hitter. For the first time in my career I plan to watch dvds of a couple of his fights beforehand after we have made a few adjustments in other areas of the build-up.
"The last fight would also have been totally different if the accident hadn't happened and I would have loved to have given Beltran a rematch had I not been forced by the WBO to make a mandatory defence.
"I just hope I never experience the same thing again. The pain at times was unbearable and I have to ask myself: could I go through it again? Who knows? But, while Jose Gonzalez quit with a broken hand, I would have fought on with two broken hands in survival mode because the thought of stopping isn't in me."