Ricky Burns ‘Seeks Closure’ on a Card with a Father/Son Duo


By Arne K. Lang

Ricky Burns stands as one of the greatest boxers spawned in Scotland, not on the same level as Hall of Famers Benny Lynch and Ken Buchanan, but arguably on par with Jim Watt and Josh Taylor. As the first fighter from Scotland to win world titles in three weight classes, his legacy is secure.

But Burns, who turned 40 in April, isn’t yet content to rest on his laurels. He returns to the ring on Friday in his native Glasgow with another Glasgow greybeard, Willie Limond, in the opposite corner.

Burns captured his first world title in 2010 as a super featherweight, getting off the deck to upend previously undefeated Roman “Rocky” Martinez in a rousing performance that ranks among the most memorable by a Scotsman in a Glasgow ring. He won the WBO lightweight title the following year and added the vacant WBA 140-pound title in 2016, turning away Italian campaigner Michele Di Rocco.

Di Rocco, 40-1-1 heading in, was hardly as good as his record, but Burns’ triumph was of the nature of an upset. Burns was 3-3-1 in his previous seven which included a gift draw vs Raymundo Beltran and a loss on points to Terence Crawford.

In hindsight, his loss to the brilliant Crawford actually reflects well on him. He took the future pound-for-pound king the distance in a 12-round fight and won a few rounds.

Burns, who was motivated to take up boxing at age 12 after watching “Rocky” movies, insists that Friday’s match will be his final rodeo. “I am getting grief off my family [about fighting again] but have promised them this is going to be my last one,” he told Tyrone Smith of BBB Scotland Sport.

Burns last fought in December of 2021, outpointing Argentina’s Emiliano Dominguez in England. He last fought in Glasgow in March of 2017 when he was shorn of his super lightweight belt in a unification fight with Julius Indongo who won a wide decision.

“It has knawed on him for some time that he never really got to enjoy a proper farewell performance in front of the Scottish fans who provided the soundtrack to the greatest nights of his career,” noted Graeme Macpherson in the (Glasgow) Herald.

Burns sports a record of 44-8-1 (16 KOs). Willie Limond has a near-identical record: 42-5 (13). However, Limond, 44, is older than Burns and he has been even less active. He’s fought only three times since getting stopped in nine frames by Tyrone Nurse in 2016 and none of those bouts were slated for more than six rounds.

A former British and Commonwealth title-holder who has shared the ring with the likes of Amir Khan and Erik Morales, Limond won his first domestic title as a super featherweight. In his last outing in May of last year, he carried 168 pounds, but he bristles at the suggestion that his match with Burns is nothing more than a glorified sparring session between old friends. “I don’t like to lose at anything,” he says. “I don’t even like to lose a coin toss.”

Limond concedes, however, that there’s a fair chance he will gas out. Burns vs Limond is slated for 12 rounds in the welterweight class.

While Limond figures to lose, another Limond figures to uphold the family honor. Willie’s 19-year-old son Jake Limond is on the card in a 6-round welterweight contest. Jake is currently being trained by former world lightweight title-holder Anthony Crolla who defeated his dad in a British lightweight title fight back in 2011.

Fighting the usual suspects (i.e., professional losers), the younger Limond, a welterweight, is 4-0. “He’s more advanced than I was his age,” says the proud papa.

During his long pro career, Ricky Burns has answered the bell for 414 rounds. That puts him at risk of entering his sunset years with neurological deficits that will burden his loved ones.

By and large, the best boxers – and we put Ricky Burns in that category – retire several times before their final farewell. Hopefully Ricky Burns, who recently passed the exam for a professional boxing trainer’s license, will be a man of his word and call it quits after Friday night. We wish him well on Friday and in his future endeavors.