- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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If Terence Crawford is going to win a lightweight world title, he is going to have to do so in the lion's den.
Crawford, the slick mandatory challenger from Omaha, Neb., is headed to Scotland to face 135-pound world titleholder Ricky Burns on March 1 in Glasgow, promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport announced on Monday.
The fight will take place at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, where Scotland's Burns regularly draws raucous crowds.
"I hope Burns is ready to walk to hell and back," Crawford said. "I'm going to fight with all my heart. I have the determination and the skill to win the world title and bring it home."
Added Top Rank's Bob Arum, Crawford's promoter, "We believe Terence Crawford is ready to win the title and take it home to Omaha."
First comes the trip to Glasgow, where Burns will be fighting for the fourth consecutive fight and where he got a draw in a highly disputed result against Raymundo Beltran, another Top Rank fighter, in his last fight Sept. 7.
In that fight, Mexico's Beltran badly broke Burns' jaw in the second round and dropped him in the eighth round of a dominant performance but was saddled with the draw.
Burns (36-2-1, 11 KOs) was recently cleared by his doctor to begin training again.
In the fight before the draw with Beltran, Burns also struggled mightily against Jose Gonzalez of Puerto Rico and was down on all three scorecards before Gonzalez retired on his stool after the ninth round with a wrist injury.
"I have a point to prove [against Crawford]. I've had two bad performances. We've made a few changes and some adjustments," Burns said. "We're going to be doing things differently, and fingers crossed that we see a new Ricky Burns on March 1. As soon as the jaw injury happened against Beltran I went into survival mode. Everybody knew that something was wrong, even if they didn't know exactly what it was.
"When the final bell went, I wasn't caring about the decision. I just knew that I had done damage. The first couple of months after the operation were a nightmare. They told me to watch what I was eating and I could hardly open my mouth. I couldn't speak."
Although many will pick the younger, faster, fresher Crawford to win, Burns, who will be making his fifth title defense, is confident.
"Everybody is writing me off again with Terence but that doesn't bother me," said Burns, 30, a former junior lightweight titlist. "I like being the underdog and I can't wait to get back out there again in front of another great Glasgow crowd."
Arum and Hearn were headed for a purse bid on the fight before making a deal to bring Crawford to Scotland.
"This is a must-win fight for Ricky and perhaps the toughest of his incredible career," Hearn said. "Ricky is more determined than I've ever seen him, and to have that frame after the injury that he suffered during the Beltran fight is testament to the type of character and fighter he is.
"Crawford is hot property in the States but we managed to bring him here, out of his comfort zone. And right now Ricky needs the people of Scotland behind him more than ever. March 1 will be a special night at the SECC, the latest chapter of the remarkable Ricky Burns story."
The 26-year-old Crawford (22-0, 16 KOs) had a breakout year in 2013, winning all three of his fights on HBO and moving into the mandatory position for a title shot.
In March, as a late substitute, he moved up to junior welterweight out and easily outboxed hard-punching Breidis Prescott before returning in June for a sixth-round knockout of Alejandro Sanabria in a one-sided fight. In October, Crawford scored a 10-round shutout decision against previously undefeated Andrey Klimov.
If Terence Crawford is going to win a lightweight world title, he is going to have to do so in the lion’s den.