Ricky Burns (42-7-1) and Scott Cardle (23-2-1) meet on the undercard of Tony Bellew’s undisputed cruiserweight clash with Oleksandr Uysk at Manchester Arena on Saturday November 10.
Burns created history in Scotland in 2016 when he defeated Michele Di Rocco in Glasgow to land the WBA World super-lightweight title and become the country’s first ever three-weight World champion but has only won two from four fights since. He won his 50th pro fight in June, stopping Croat Ivan Njegac after four rounds and returns to the scene of his points loss to Anthony Crolla determined to prove he still has big ambitions at World level.
'Scotty' is familar with the Scot as the pair have shared many rounds already as sparring partners and count each other as friends. The 29-year-old from Lancashire is a former British lightweight champ that has also only won two from his last four fights having lost his Lonsdale belt to Robbie Barrett in April last year on a mixed decision before being blasted away in two rounds by the heavy-handed Lewis Ritson in March this year.
What looks like a 50-50 fight going on recent form needs BBN's panel of experts to break down who wins:
Former Southern Area light-heavyweight champion
"I think it all depends on what Burns has left and his desire. He’s been a multi-weight world champion and Cardle recently lost for the British so if there is still 70% of the old Burns left, I’d expect to see him through on points.
Never rule out the underdog with nothing to lose though."
Robbie Davies Jr.
British & Commonwealth super-lightweight champion
"Good fight. Scott looks in the best shape I've seen him in a long time, really looks like he's put the work in.
Burns has been at top level for a while now, but I feel is on the slide.
I'm backing Scotty to win on points."
Former British super-bantamweight champion
"I think Ricky Burns on points or late stoppage. It'll be a tough fight and he won't have it all his own way, but I think Burns will win."
"Obviously, I’m going to be slightly biased with this fight, although Scotty is a cracking lad, but for me this is a stepping stone fight for Ricky to get back out there. He will be far too experienced and too strong for Scott.
I expect Ricky to get a TKO stoppage, possibly on a cut."
"Neither man is heavy-handed and I can see the more experienced man - Ricky Burns - eking out a points decision.
Burns has been fighting at world level since 2010 and, even at the age of 35, I still think he has enough life left in him to compete at the highest level. Scotty has never been past domestic level and hasn't had a noteworthy win for over two years. I don't think the late notice will affect Burns because he's always in shape and lives in the gym and I think he was set to fight later in the month anyway.
It's a must-win fight for both, as the winner will be set for big title fights in 2019, so I can see a well-matched, interesting battle here."
Founder of Boxing News & Views
"Great fight on paper. I wonder could Cardle be just catching Burns at the right time of his career in this. At 35 and after achieving everything in boxing and having been in some real wars, I'd be interested to know the motivation Burns has at this stage of his career. That said, he's a constant professional and the way he looks after himself and lives the life could easily allow him to box to a high level for four or five more years yet, if he wants to.
I think Ricky Burns will have just a bit too much boxing skill for Cardle and am going to go with a Burns unanimous decision but an interesting fight, without doubt."
"Ricky Burns has seen better days and at one time was a genuine world level fighter. Over time, his reflexes and movement have diminished. Perhaps equally importantly is how the fire in his belly doesn't quite burn as fiercely as it did during his title tilts.
With that being said, Burns is still a level above Scott Cardle. Cardle will give it all he has, but I can't see him out-boxing Burns or having the power to stop him. Burns will draw on all his experience and fight a competitive fight, but one that clearly signifies him as the winner on the scorecards."
"It’s a very good fight this to be honest and I think it’s going to be very interesting to see what shape Scott Cardle is in now he’s parted from Joe Gallagher.
Cardle looked sharp at the Public Workout, but you would expect the strength of Ricky Burns to see him through this contest.
My prediction is a points win for Ricky Burns."
"Two very evenly-matched fighter but it's Burns for me because he needs to win and he’ll want to really give it all.
Should be a great but very close fight."