Monday, June 22, 2009

British Scene Weekend Recap

This past Friday night at the Bellahouston Sports Centre in Glasgow, Ricky Burns defended his Commonwealth super-featherweight title against Kevin O'Hara. The show also featured the return of Edinburgh's Alex Arthur.

Dave Oakes has the recap.

Check out Dave's Preview of the Show: Ricky Burns vs Kevin O'Hara Preview

Saturday June 13

Burns Scrapes Past O'Hara

By Dave Oakes

Ricky Burns survived a tough test on Friday night to retain his Commonwealth super-featherweight title at the Bellahouston Sports Centre, Glasgow.

Burns never seemed to find his rhythm and struggled to establish himself against a fired up Kevin O’Hara. O’Hara has been guilty of underachieving when he’s taken a step up in class in the past, but it was a different story this time as he jumped on the champion early and tried to force the pace of the fight.

The first four rounds were very even, with O’Hara pressing but not landing many punches and Burns back-pedaling whilst also not landing many punches.

Burns fared slightly better in rounds five to eight, he wasn’t dominating but he was out-hustling O’Hara to edge the rounds. O’Hara was starting to look a touch tired in the seventh but continued to press forward where Burns met him with a jab before clinching. This was to be a pattern in the fight, Burns didn’t look comfortable when O’Hara was on the inside and was content to tie him up rather than trade with him.

O’Hara seemed to get a second wind in the last few rounds; he was pressing with more authority but was still landing very little. O’Hara was only throwing left-hooks; Burns had noticed this early in the fight and was now catching most of them on his gloves.

Despite the predictability of his opponent, Burns wasn’t doing much other than throwing the odd jab and left hook to the body before tying O’Hara up on the inside. Surprisingly he didn’t seem capable of countering O’Hara and looked uncomfortable and awkward all through the fight.

O’Hara was deducted a point in the ninth for deliberate use of the head. With the fight looking to be very close, it was a daft thing for O’Hara to do. As it was, it didn’t make any difference as the judges scored the bout surprisingly wide in favour of Burns. The judges scorecards read: 117-110, 117-111 and a much more sensible 115-113.

All in all, this wasn’t a particularly entertaining fight and has to go down as the worst performance by Burns since he lost to Carl Johanneson a couple of years ago. He didn’t seem to be motivated and was lucky that O’Hara was one-dimensional in his attacks; if O’Hara had mixed it up a bit more he could’ve pulled off a shock win.

Burns may be in need of a break to help recharge his batteries before making another defence of his title later this year. I don’t think it would be wise at this stage of his career to go looking for fights against Kevin Mitchell and Roman Martinez like he’s been talking about. Both of those fighters would make very easy work of Burns based on Friday night’s performance.

On the undercard…

Alex Arthur made a successful return to the ring by blowing away the hapless Mohamed Benbiou inside ninety seconds. Benbiou was down three times and looked hurt every time Arthur landed. It was a big left hook to the body that brought the mismatch to an end. Arthur is now campaigning at lightweight; it’ll be interesting to see how he does there after a fairly successful career at super-featherweight.

e-mail Dave Oakes