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Disputed draw could 'work against' Burns

EDDIE HEARN, the promoter of WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns, has expressed fresh concern that the good fortune the Scottish fighter enjoyed six months ago against Raymundo Beltran could come back to haunt him.

Burns was awarded a highly-contentious draw in his fight with the Mexican at the SECC, despite suffering a broken jaw in the second round before also being knocked down by his opponent.

The decision caused an outcry and the sanctioning body are keen there is no such controversy on Saturday evening should Burns' fifth title defence, against undefeated American Terence Crawford at the SECC, go the distance.

Hearn's unease is understandable given the circumstances and he has urged 30-year-old Burns not to leave anything to chance, in the belief that the fighter will not be as fortunate a second time. According to Hearn, the judges will have been warned to avoid further unwelcome controversy at the same Glasgow venue.

"The fact the judges know there was a bad decision can work against Ricky," he said. "They will be told by the WBO that they need to be absolutely bang on this time, which is what they should be, of course. But sometimes when you are watching a fight and the crowd goes mental when the home fighter has his man on the ropes, you can be fooled into thinking the other guy has taken a spanking.

"Then when you watch it back on TV you realise it was actually a pretty close round. So, when Ricky gets Crawford on the ropes he's got to let him have it big time as the crowd's reaction will influence the judges. Not in a corrupt way, but after what happened last time, psychologically, if it's a close round, are the judges going to ask themselves, did the crowd over-react, and give it to Crawford?"

After the cat got his tongue at his pre-arranged press conference on Tuesday, Crawford found his voice again yesterday in an effort to unsettle his opponent. "Ricky has got the whole of Scotland depending on him," said the 26-year-old. "In the States we've got lots of world champions, but here there's only one and what is Scotland without him?

"This is definitely my time now and I don't care about the crowd. After all, what can they do apart from yell and scream? I have no problem with coming to Scotland. He has earned the right to fight wherever he wants."

Much has been made of Crawford's relative inexperience; the American has never boxed 12 rounds. Indeed, he has just 81 rounds under his belt compared to Burns' 281.

However, Crawford pointed to his impressive wins over Breidis Prescott and Alejandro Sanabria as indications that he can endBurns' reign. "He has been around longer than me, boxed more rounds, and been in more world title fights, but I heard all this before I beat Prescott," he added.

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