ALEX MORRISON, the manager of Ricky Burns, has urged the former world champion not to quit in the wake of his comeback defeat by Montenegrin Dejan Zlaticanin at Braehead Arena on Friday night.
Burns' career is at the crossroads after he failed to land the vacant WBO International lightweight title and earn a crack at world champion Omar Figueroa. But despite calls for Burns to hang up his gloves, Morrison believes that the 31-year-old two-weight champion from Coatbridge still has a future.
He said: "I haven't spoken with Ricky yet, but when I do, I will be advising him to move up to light-welterweight. He trains at around 10st 5lbs and I know what it feels like from my own career how difficult it can be to lose weight.
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"Interestingly, Sugar Ray Leonard once expressed the view to me that Ricky should move up to welterweight. Ricky has looked a bit jaded in recent fights but I do believe he is capable of coming back and winning another world title.
"So I think he should carry on, if that is what he wants to do. It's not as if he's sustained a lot of damage although I have been surprised that he has been disappointing in his last four fights. I can't put a finger on the reason why, as Ricky is always very strong, focussed and determined and is mentally tough. But I do wonder whether weight has been a factor.
"I don't think the broken jaw was an issue against Zlaticanin. I wondered in the ninth round if his jaw had gone again when Zlaticanin caught him and Ricky made a face, but it was okay. The knock down in the first round was a huge setback and Ricky found it difficult against an awkward opponent, having to punch down on Zlaticanin because of the height difference, meaning he couldn't get any leverage.
"It was also a concern when he repeated his same own fault of lying on the ropes. But if he had boxed for the rest like he did in the last three rounds, he would have won easily."
Morrison added: "I was delighted for Willie Limond. Seeing him beat Curtis Woodhouse to win the British tile at long last gave me one of my best nights in boxing."