With pen not yet put to paper to sign, seal and deliver the fight, the November 26 HBO bout between WBO super featherweight titlist Ricky Burns and Adrien Broner is on the verge of collapsing, as Burns is reportedly near pulling out of the bout.
"I am advising him against the fight. Ricky is on the verge of taking my advice and saying no. I would like him to relinquish the belt and move up to win a second world title," [Burns' manager Alex] Morrison said.
It is frankly difficult to read this as anything better than Burns (32-2, 9 KO) ducking the trip to Cincinnati to fight Broner (21-0, 17 KO), if only because the fight Burns was targeting before getting into the Broner talks was against Mzonke Fana, another titlist at 130 pounds. Now that would have been for the vacant RING title, and maybe that was truly a big deal to Burns, big enough to ignore an urge to move up to 135 pounds. But Burns is going to take the heat for ducking this fight.
Richard Schaefer says that Eloy Perez (22-0-2, 6 KO) would be in line to face Broner for the vacant WBO belt if Burns does vacate and move up, and Schaefer sounds confident that Burns is in fact going to vacate instead of facing Broner. Perez, like Broner, is promoted by Golden Boy, and just fought last Friday, knocking out Daniel Jimenez in two rounds on Solo Boxeo Tecate.
Whether or not HBO would be interested in dedicating a main event slot to Broner vs Perez isn't addressed, but it's a good fight between a pair of strong prospects, and might even be useful given the date to start promoting and hyping the new HBO2 series coming in early 2012, which will be a ShoBox-like program. A Boxing After Dark triple-header featuring Broner vs Perez on top would be great, maybe with a couple of prospects like heavyweight Seth Mitchell and fast-rising bantamweight Leo Santa Cruz also on the bill. We'll see, but for now, it looks like Burns vs Broner is all but officially off.