Opinion: Ricky Burns is the most underappreciated British fighter of the 2000s

Ricky Burns' career includes world title wins in three weight classes, something no other Scottish fighter has been able to achieve.

Ricky Burns is Scotland's only three-division champion.

He may not have reached the dizzy heights of other fighters from the UK during his prime commercially, but make no mistake about it, Burns' legacy as a British boxer is legendary status.

Unafraid to test himself and put his career on the line time and time again, Burns - who has ended a two-year hiatus in December - is a real throwback.

Two early career defeats for "Rickster" against eventual world champion Alex Arthur and Carl Johanneson in 2006 and 2007 respectively, saw him split from trainer Rob Bannon of 14 years.

While it was a tough decision for Burns, it proved to be the right move with the Scot racking up 21 wins on the spin, including two world titles. His first taste of world glory was in 2010 against Rocky Martinez - the defending champion - who was an overwhelming favourite going into the contest by bookmakers.

After Burns hit the deck in the opening round, there seemed like only one winner.

However, using some of that Scottish grit and determination, Burns frustrated the Puerto Rican fighter and had huge success with landing right uppercuts to overcome the storm and earn a unanimous decision.

Three successful defences followed, including victory over former titleholder Nicky Cook before moving up to 135-pounds.

Outpointing Michael Katsidis, Burns won the WBO interim lightweight championship. Rather than challenge for the WBO full version, he was named as world champion after Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez moved up in weight.

The most notable win during his reign for British fans was his surprise KO stoppage of Kevin Mitchell.

Considered a small lightweight, Burns used the Glasgow crowd to his strength and knocked Mitchell out inside four rounds.

A unification defeat to Terance Crawford soon followed in 2014 and while he was outclassed, he hardly disgraced himself against the American, who is now in some people's eyes the best fighter in world boxing right now.

With another three defeats in four, it looked like curtains for Burns on a world level. The Coatbridge boxer defied all odds once again, though, adding more history to his exceptional career by overcoming Michele Di Rocco of Italy for the WBA light welterweight strap in front of a partisan crowd at the SSE Arena in Glasgow.

Burns completed an incredible 2016 by outpointing Kiryl Relikh via unanimous decision. He was unable to unify the division in his next fight as he tasted a points defeat to Julius Indongo - who then lost to "Bud" Crawford in an undisputed showdown at 140-pounds.

Burns has since offered fans more entertaining clashes with British rivals Anthony Crolla and Lee Selby.

He recently fought Emiliano Dominguez in December 2021 and while he may be tempted to another fight or two, regardless of whether he wins or not, Burns is a British legend.

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