Lee Haskins (+275) vs Ryan Burnett (-225), Draw (+2800)
Irish fighters line the card of Eddie Hearn’s Belfast showdown this Saturday (June 10th), with local boy Ryan Burnett (16-0, 9 KOs) headlining the event. He faces Lee Haskins (34-3, 14 KOs) for the IBF bantamweight title.
The IBF title was unified on the scales when Randy Caballero failed to make weight, making Haskins the world champion. He’s since gone on to defend his title against Iván Morales and former IBF champ Stuart Hall.
Over a professional career spanning 14 years, he’s picked up a host of European and British championships. But it’s only recently that he’s made the leap onto the world stage. His interim title win against Ryosuke Iwasa in 2015 was a huge milestone for the aging Brit (33).
Ryan Burnett is the future of Northern Irish boxing. Following in the footsteps of his hero, Carl Frampton, Burnett hopes to bring another world title to Belfast. He has a perfect record through 16 fights, but he’s yet to face a formidable opponent. Ryan Farrag is the closest he’s come to a noteworthy opponent, and even then, Farrag doesn’t have much of a reputation outside of the UK.
What Burnett lacks in experience, he makes up for with hunger and ambition. He’s an extremely prolific fighter with 16 professional fights in just four years. He took on six fights in 2015 and three more in 2016. This will all change once he starts to draw tougher opponents. But for now, he’s fighting at every opportunity in order to make a name for himself.
Stylistically, Haskins and Burnett are very similar. Both prefer to fight defensively, relying heavily on the counter punch, and neither packs a lot of power, though Haskins is definitely able to catch his opponents off-guard.
Burnett has won his last five fights by decision, and Haskins has taken both of his title defenses the full 12 rounds. So if you’re looking for some highlight-reel knockouts, this probably isn’t the fight for you.
The 25-year-old Burnett is the favorite to win. He’s got a huge hometown advantage fighting in Belfast, and he boasts an impressive unblemished record. However, he’s never faced an opponent of Haskins’ caliber before, and he’s only had two 12-round fights in his professional career, so it’s hard to say how he’ll fare if (when) the fight reaches the later rounds.
Haskins hasn’t lost a fight since 2012 and he’s already made two convincing title defenses. Burnett may be the future of Northern Irish boxing, but I think he may have to wait a little longer before he’s champ. He’s certainly not the better value at -225.
Pick: Lee Haskins (+275)