Eddie Hearn, the boxing promoter, has acknowledged the importance of Ricky Burns turning on the style in his comeback bout against the Montenegrin Dejan Zlaticanin at Braehead Arena on June 27.
Hearn has also intimated that the eliminator for the World Boxing Council title is crucial for the 31-year-old from Coatbridge in the wake of a points defeat by American Terence Crawford two months ago, when the Scot was defending his World Boxing Organisation lightweight title.
"Ricky is on the comeback trail to a world title shot," said Hearn. "He has a new trainer in Tony Sims and this is all about putting what he has learned into practice, getting his confidence back and showing people he is still a major player. He might not be. Maybe he will struggle against Zlaticanin. He could quite easily lose, but we need to find out what Ricky has left in the tank.
Loading article content
"Boxing is all about levels and people have to realise that, in his last three fights, Ricky has been boxing at the top level and, if you are not on the ball, you will be exposed - which is what happened against Crawford.
"So we have come down a level to see if he has still got it. But, ultimately, the next step is a fight with the winner of the bout between the current champion Omar Figueroa and the challenger Daniel Estrada. Figueroa is on a different level to Crawford. I have absolutely no doubt that Burns would beat Figueroa, but could he beat Crawford in a rematch? At this point, you would have to say no.
"So what we do now is drop down a level for a fight. Ricky must win and has to look good in at the same time. If he doesn't, he is not going to be a world title contender. Ricky needs to get his confidence back because there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. But as far as I am concerned, Ricky can definitely win another world title.
"Win this fight and he becomes the mandatory challenger. But he has to prove he is ready for these fights. I sense Ricky wants to prove people wrong and I have told him he needs to go out and win and look fantastic doing so."