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Burns camp hope jet lag will help floor challenger

IF it was a deliberate attempt to get under Terence Crawford's skin, the WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns' promoter, Eddie Hearn, probably hit the mark yesterday when he claimed the undefeated American had made a mistake in only arriving in Glasgow yesterday for Saturday night's world title contest at the SECC.

icky Burns trains at Glasgow's St Enoch Centre. Picture: SNS
icky Burns trains at Glasgow's St Enoch Centre. Picture: SNS

The 26-year-old Nebraskan has given himself just five days to recover from the effects of jet lag after he and his entourage missed an earlier flight.

Hearn stopped short of accusing the unbeaten Crawford of underestimating his 30-year-old opponent from Coatbridge, but claimed: "I would never allow one of my fighters fighting in America to arrive the week of the contest. I think Crawford has made a mistake, I really do.

"Everyone is different and Crawford's movements will be dictated by his training team. I suppose, given that he has never travelled outside America, which I am assuming is the case because he had to apply for a passport, there is no answer to what is right or wrong way for him.

"But, personally I think arriving on the Monday is risky in terms of recovering from jet lag and the effect fluid retention has on your weight.

"We gave him the opportunity of coming 10 days in advance of the fight, the same as we did with Raymundo Beltran, and I don't know why they missed their plane. All I was told was that there had been a problem.

"I am not saying it will be a massive factor, but when a fight is as close as this one is anything that can give you an edge is a big plus. That's why we had to make sure the fight was in Glasgow, because you can't put a value on home advantage when it's so close.

"We had to pay Crawford a lot of money to get him to agree to come here but I don't feel that Ricky, in his position as champion, should travel to Nebraska.

"I was a little bit of a risk financially, but, thank the Lord, we are going to have a sell-out and 10,000 Scots fight fans is the equivalent of 20,000 from any other nationality - Crawford won't know what's hit him.

"If Crawford is very special, which he might be, he will cope with it. If not, when you factor in everything else, like arriving late and never having fought outside America, it's going to hit him hard.

"I am not suggesting the crowd should try to intimidate Crawford but I am asking the fans to raise the roof to show him what he's up against and also to lift Ricky."

Burns, who is poised to equal the former WBO featherweight champion Scott Harrison's record of 10 world title bouts, will very probably need all the support he can get against the highly- rated challenger after riding his luck in his previous two defences, against Jose Gonzalez and Beltran.

The Mexican Beltran broke the champion's jaw last September, giving rise to understandable concerns that the career-threatening injury may be a factor in determining the outcome this weekend.

"Ricky's last two performances and the hype surrounding Crawford are the reasons why Ricky is the underdog and if he makes the same mistakes Crawford will jump on him straight away and punish him," Hearn said.

"But I keep hearing mixed opinions about Crawford. A lot of people think he's special, others believe he is over-hyped.

"Ricky, meanwhile, loves being the underdog going into a tough fight. He has a smile on his face and I wonder if his previous two fights got him up as much as this one has.

"Ricky is also one of life's great underdogs. I don't think he was supposed to achieve what he has."

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