Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn says he has promotional options on IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Julius Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) following his 12 round unanimous decision win over his fighter Ricky Burns (41-6-1, 14 KOs) from their fight last Saturday night at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Hearn says a fight between Indongo and former WBA World lightweight champion Anthony Crolla is one that he would be possibly interested. Hearn also likes the idea of fight between Indongo and WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford. This would be a big fight in the boxing world if Hearn opts to go in that direction.
The results of last Saturday’s Indongo vs. Burns fight showed that Indongo is a major talent in the division. I don’t think Hearn and Burns realized how good Indongo was going into the fight. Surely, if they knew what a talent that Indongo was, they wouldn’t have taken the fight.
This was a match that Hearn and Burns wanted. They didn’t have to fight Indongo. They took the fight because it was a move that would strengthen Burns’ position in the 140lb division for future big money fights against Adrien Broner and Crawford. It would have been great news for Burns’ career if he could beat Indongo and use his IBF title to get better financial deals for bouts against Crawford and Broner.
Hearn says there was a rematch clause in the contract for the Burns-Indongo fight. Hearn isn’t certain whether he’ll have the 34-year-old Burns fight Indongo a second time. It’s either a rematch between the two fighters or Hearn will have promotional options for Indongo’s next fight. It’s unclear if it’s just one fight that Hearn will control or several of them for Indongo.
If Hearn will have control over Indongo’s career for more than one fight, it would be better to use those fights matching him against his own fighters from his Matchroom Sport promotional stable rather than putting him in a risky fight right away against Crawford. If Indongo were to lose to Crawford, then it wouldn’t be nearly as big a deal for Hearn to promote him for the next 2 or 3 fights following the loss.
“It wasn’t a great fight,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to IFL TV. “Indongo, we hoped wasn’t as good as that. It wasn’t Ricky’s best night. It was so hard to get close to him. He was a big, tall, rangy southpaw with great feet that could really punch. He’s a really talented fighter. There’s obviously some huge fights ahead for Indongo. I thought it would be difficult for Ricky early on. I had hoped he would close the distance and work the body as well. The thing is, Indongo was so strong. He’d tie him up on the inside. Ricky wasn’t allowed to do any work. Indongo could fight at range, had great feet, and also could tie Ricky up on the inside and not let him work to the body and tire himself, a clever fighter as well,” said Hearn.
Indongo had a very easy time beating the 34-year-old Burns by the scores 120-108, 118-110 and 116-112. Indongo didn’t knock Burns down in the fight, but he came awfully close in the 11th and 12th rounds after he slipped to the canvas after being punched in the head. Only the referee knows why he didn’t score those 3 slips as full knockdowns, because it sure looked like they were legit.
Burns tried to rough Indongo would when the two of them were in a clinch. Burns would land rabbit shots. The punches had no mental effect on Indongo, as he continued to control the fight when they were separated. Burns was bum rushing Indongo quite a bit in the later rounds.
”Someone like Terence Crawford against Indongo is a great fight,” said Hearn. ”We have a rematch clause and promotional options. The rematch is one that people will be queuing up to see. I’ll be working with him in his next fight. Look at the options. Maybe we’ll find a fight with him with one of our 140 boys. Maybe Crolla moves up to fight. Sometimes you have to deal with that if you have a rematch clause. If the rematch doesn’t happen, you have promotional options. I’ll probably be working with Indongo moving forward,” said Hearn.
Anthony Crolla is coming off of a one-sided loss to Jorge Linares at lightweight. For Crolla to move up to 140 to take on the 5’10 ½” Indongo, I think it would be a really bad match-up. Burns isn’t a natural 140lb fighter. He started his career out as a featherweight and eventually grew out of the division before moving up to super featherweight, light welterweight and finally light welterweight.
Crolla could certainly move to 140 if he wanted the payday. It’s just that without any kind of a tune-up fight, it would be awfully hard for Crolla to deal with the size, speed and power of Indongo. But if Crolla wants the payday, it might be a good money fight for him. I’m sure Hearn wouldn’t have to twist Indongo’s arm to get him to agree to take the fight. There would be good money for him if he agrees to face Crolla in his hometown of Manchester, England at the Manchester Arena. The place would be packed with Crolla’s loyal boxing fans turning out to try and root him onto victory.
I don’t think for a second that Hearn is going to bother putting Ricky Burns back in with Indongo for a rematch. That would be pure suicide for Burns’ career. Indongo beat Burns to such an extent that it was clear to all of the boxing fans that watched the fight that he’d be able to do it again no matter how many times the two fighters faced each other in the future.
If Hearn could get Indongo to remain in his promotional stable in the future, he’d have one of his better fighters in his stable. As long as Hearn doesn’t mess things up by putting Indongo in a difficult fight against Terence Crawford, he could probably hold onto his two titles for a long, long time.