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Ricky Burns likely to face Michele Di Rocco in May for vacant WBA belt

Ricky Burns could get another "world title" shot in May, as a fight with Michele Di Rocco is close to done.

Dave Thompson/Getty Images

The WBA has stated that they're out to clean up their "world title" situations across the board, by eliminating their extra "world champions" strewn across the sport's landscape, but like many things in boxing, that may be little more than talk.

Although Adrien Broner is the current WBA junior welterweight titleholder and is active, with a fight coming up on April 1 against Ashley Theophane, the sanctioning body is close to putting a vacant "world title" at the weight on the line for a May clash between Ricky Burns and Michele Di Rocco.

Burns (39-5-1, 13 KO) is a former two-division titleholder, carrying the WBO super featherweight title from September 2010 until July 2011, when he moved up in weight to win the interim WBO lightweight title against Michael Katsidis in November 2011. In March of the next year, he solidified himself as WBO lightweight titleholder, beating Paulus Moses, and held that belt until his loss to Terence Crawford in March 2014.

Following a controversial draw against Ray Beltran in September 2013, then the Crawford loss, Burns also fell by decision to Dejan Zlaticanin in June 2014, and his career seemed to be in certain decline. But a strong performance in a good fight against Omar Figueroa last year -- another loss -- got him back in business somewhat, and since then he's won two fights. In his last bout, he went back down to lightweight and knocked out Josh King in the 11th round.

Burns, at 32, is still conceivably in the prime years of his career, and a fight with the 33-year-old Di Rocco could put another world title, however illegitimate, around his waist. Di Rocco, nicknamed "The King," has a record of 40-1-1 (18 KO) and has held the European 140-pound title since beating Lenny Daws for the vacant belt in June 2013. He's made four successful defenses, beating Ville Piispanen, Ruben Nieto, Kasper Bruun, and Alexandre Lepelley. He's got a pretty typical European-level record, pretty on paper but somewhat empty at a closer glance, at least in terms of higher-level wins. Burns would be the best opponent of his career, and by a good bit.

The SSE Hydro in Glasgow is set to host the fight, which has been reported for May 21, but a spokesman for Matchroom Boxing says that they won't do it on that date, as it would go up against David Haye's next fight, as well as the Scottish Cup football final. May 28 is a possible date.

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