Lee Selby picks up his second win since losing his IBF title!
Former IBF featherweight champion Lee “Lightning” Selby (27-2, 9KO) took on a stiff challenge against the bigger three division champion Ricky “Rickster” Burns (43-7-1, 16KO). This marked only his second fight since being outworked by Josh Warrington in May 2018 to lose his title. Additionally, this would be his second bout at the lightweight division in ten years!
Burns at age 36 has had moments when he was on the brink of retirement and other moments where he looked to still have enough gas in his tank to capture another world title. In November 2018, his quick domination of lightweight contender Scott Cardle in a fight many felt he may lose going in gave him a spark to keep the engine running on his career.
Just Like The Pre-Fight Analysis?
Giving an pre-fight analysis on this bout was very simple. We have the smaller Selby who is faster with his hands and feet and the bigger Burns who is more of a mid-range fighter who has boxing ability but likes to make things tight in a phone-booth style of fight.
Given this, Selby would need to utilize combinations behind his jab and stay away from getting caught in any fire-fights. Meanwhile, Burns needed to cut the ring off and attack the body when available to slow his opponent’s movement to a minimum. This in turn, would allow him more opportunities to score on a rather stagnant target.
As expected, the fight would mirror this to a tee early…at least for Selby!
Although the former IBF champion was shorter in height and reach, he was able to virtually control all of the early rounds. This due to his opponents stubbornness to only utilize one angle which was to come forward. Given the fact Burns was never known for his defensive skills, he made for an easy target for the faster and much quicker fighter form Wales.
In essence, Selby was living up to his nickname in the first half of this fight. As stated earlier, the former champion from Scotland needed to cut the ring off and attack the body early. However, the speed of the smaller fighter confused him to the point where he couldn’t anticipate where the next move would be.
Either his or Burns was too one-track minded and steadfast on trying to maul Selby. In either case, he fell behind early in this fight.
Turning the Tide
However as seen in many fights involving the former featherweight champion, he faded!
Not only does he fade, but he becomes vulnerable! At around the eighth round, the movement slowed down. The combinations where not as fluid. He started getting caught standing still which prompted him to clinch. In this situation, it was detrimental because Burns would be allowed manhandle him while attacking his body.
Fatigue is a normal thing given the amount of time a twelve round fight takes. However, if you employ the style of a boxer from the outside, you have to be conditioned to keep the pace for an entire bout! Unfortunately for Selby, he now started to get outworked and out-hustled in the second half of a fight he should have had in the bag.
Kudos to Burns as he took full advantage. Cutting off the ring became easier (since he really didn’t have to do it) as his opponent’s fatigue allowed him to be in range. Now the former three division champion was able to get off and he was extremely successful to the point where by the end of the twelfth round, a clinic turned into a fight that could have gone either way!
By The Skin of His Teeth!
115-115, 116-112, and 116-113 would be the official scorecards that would allow Selby to obtain a victory. If he hadn’t have accumulated the majority of the early rounds, he may have been on the other end of the decision. 3kingsboxing.com scored the fight 115-113 for Selby.
Sensing the weight could have been an issue to why he faded, the ringside interviewer asked Selby on his thoughts of moving down to junior lightweight. The former champion claimed he could but would rather pick up a title at lightweight.
My advice, work on that conditioning! With Vasiliy Lomachenko holding three of the four belts and the winner of Richard Commey vs Teofimo Lopez holding the other, capturing a title at lightweight is a tall order and even then, he still probably wouldn’t beat any of these guys!
By: EJ Williams