Scotland Screw Job: Ricky Burns Escapes With A Draw Against Raymundo Beltran

It never fails to astound how often this happens in boxing: Everyone scoring the fight, from the broadcasters to people on Twitter, tips it to the visiting fighter from another region of the world; everyone fears that the judges will save the neighborhood kid by the scruff of his neck; that's what they do; and everyone is enraged, even though and perhaps because they saw it coming. It is, so much of the time, a great sport. But too frequently, it's a dirty game.

Lightweight Raymundo Beltran (left) deserved to walk out of the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow a winner Saturday on WealthTV, but Ricky Burns (right) is from Scotland so that's that. Everyone gave Burns the 1st round, certainly, and I gave him the 12th, reluctantly. Much of what happened in between was about Beltran. His left hook was automatic. He trapped Burns on the ropes over and over again, doing damage to the head and especially the body. Beltran also scored a knockdown in the 8th off that automatic left hook, the same punch which also apparently dislocated or broke Burns' jaw. Burns could, at times, control the action with his jab, but mostly he either A. chose the totally wrong time to hold, as in, after Beltran had tagged him along the ropes for 20 seconds rather than before, or B. flailed away with wild hooks that didn't land and/or opened him up to Beltran's precisions counters. Beltran was technically the better fighter of the two, surprising given his reputation as a pressure fighting brawler, and I say that despite the fact that he doesn't have the ability to move his head, as if he was some kind of Fisher Price Person.

Since my feed gave out in the 2nd round, I couldn't score the fight completely, but it wouldn't have mattered on my scorecard. I had Beltran winning. So did everyone else, except the judge who gave the fight to Burns, 115-112 (?), and another who scored it a draw, 114-114.  The third judge is the only one who got the winner correct, and even he had an odd 115-113 scorecard that suggests he didn't score the knockdown or had one round even, a rarity for one judge out of three but even rarer given the 114-114 score had to have pulled the same trick.

You can second guess Beltran not coming out ultra-aggressive in the 12th, but even then everybody knows he won. Everybody also knows that the dice are loaded, yet everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.