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Sunday, December 8, 2013
Burns-Crawford purse bid off

By Dan Rafael

The representatives for lightweight world titleholder Ricky Burns and mandatory challenger Terence Crawford have made a deal for the fight and called off a purse bid that was scheduled to take place at WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday.

Rather than go to auction with the rights going to the promoter who submitted the highest bid, Burns promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport and Carl Moretti, vice president of Crawford promoter Top Rank, came to terms for the fight, which will take place in Burns' native Scotland on either Feb. 8 or Feb. 22.

"I'm delighted to bring this fight to Scotland. We tried hard to make the [Raymundo] Beltran rematch but Crawford is the mandatory and Ricky is happy to accept the challenge," Hearn told on Sunday. "It's perhaps the toughest test Ricky has faced so far. There seems to be plenty of hype around Crawford, so let's see how he gets on trying to take Ricky's title in his backyard."

Burns (36-2-1, 11 KOs), 30, barely hung on to his 135-pound world title on Sept. 7 against Beltran, who broke Burns' jaw in the second round, knocked him down in the eighth round and appeared to dominate the fight. But he was saddled with a draw in a heavily disputed decision.

Although there was discussion about a rematch, Crawford's mandatory rights were enforced before Burns could give Beltran another shot.

Terms were not disclosed for the Burns-Crawford fight, although had it gone to a purse bid, the minimum offer was $150,000 on a 75-25 split with Burns, who, as the titleholder, would have been entitled to the lion's share.

On Saturday, Moretti was in Atlantic City, N.J., working on Top Rank's HBO card headlined by the Guillermo Rigondeaux-Joseph Agbeko junior featherweight championship fight while Hearn was in Stuttgart, Germany, for the card topped by the Darren Barker-Felix Sturm middleweight title bout. But Moretti said they were emailing back and forth working to finalize an agreement ahead of the purse bid deadline.

"Eddie finally made us an offer, a scenario, to do the fight in Scotland on Feb. 8 or Feb. 22 on his show, and we worked out the financial package for us and for Crawford," Moretti told "I called [Crawford's manager] Cameron [Dunkin] and he liked it and was closing a deal with Crawford, so we'll travel there and fight for the title."

Moretti said he got Hearn to agree on neutral officials to be appointed by the WBO.

"It was one of the things I insisted on and he agreed, and the WBO is OK with it also," Moretti said.

Before making the deal with Hearn, Moretti said that Top Rank planned to bid aggressively in order to win the rights to the fight to put it on a Jan. 25 HBO card in the works for the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

"I could have put here [in the United States] if we won the purse bid, but Eddie made us an offer we were comfortable with," Moretti said. "Hopefully, Terence will win the fight and his first defense can be in the United States on HBO."

Crawford (22-0, 16 KOs), 26, of Omaha, Neb., won his third consecutive HBO-televised fight on Oct. 5 in Orlando, Fla., when he scored a 10-round shutout decision against previously undefeated Andrey Klimov on the undercard of Miguel Cotto's return against Delvin Rodriguez.