Following widespread rumours that Burnett’s quarter-final opponent, Nonito Donaire, is set to withdraw from their clash in Glasgow next week, first reserve Butler [26(14)-2(1)] has come into prominence.
Former IBF bantam champ Butler, who had been provisionally down to fight Frenchman Yoan Boyeaux in a ten rounder on the same card in Glasgow, is now tipped to step in and face the Belfast boxer and has already sent something of a verbal jab the way of the WBA champion.
As first seed, Burnett had first pick at the Draft Gala draw earlier this year and chose four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire as his quarterfinal opponent for the November 3rd fight card at the SSE Hydro.
Butler, who was previously knocked out by third seed Zolani Tete and dominated by fourth seed Manny Rodriguez, doesn’t believe that Burnett matches up to the WBO and IBF champions.
Indeed the Scouser, who was continually linked to Jamie Conlan a number of years ago, also suggests that the Adam Booth-trained fighter has a style which appeals to him and one he will exploit should he be given the opportunity.
“Ryan’s really talented. There’s a few gaps there if you watch his last one,” Butler told Boxing News as talk of him stepping in heightened.
“I’ve always said out of the world champions I’ve wanted to box Ryan. If I was doing the seedings for the World Boxing Super Series, Burnett would be fourth for me. That’s not being disrespectful, I think he’s fourth for me. I’d have [Naoya] Inoue as number one, Tete two, Rodriguez three, and Burnett four.
“But that doesn’t mean he’s not a world class operator because he is. He’s a top kid, as he’s proven: he’s won the IBF and WBA Super titles.”
At present, 35-year-old Donaire [38(24)-5(1)] is still down to face Burnett in nine days time and both he and the tournament have indicated on social media that this will be the case.
Regardless, talk of him being unable to make the 118lbs limit – a weight he has not made in seven years and two classes south of where he has been competiing recently – continues.
Butler, who badly missed weight for his own most recent fight at bantamweight versus Rodriguez, explained how “as far as I know I’m boxing anyway. I’m in a 10 rounder anyway so I’m training for that and I’ve been told I’m the reserve if there was any drop out for that fight.”
“I’ve known for four weeks that I’m the reserve so we’ve been training for three different people,” added the fighter who has been sparring with upcoming Irish title challenger Dylan McDonagh.
Burnett’s fight, be it against Donaire or Butler, is a co-feature alongside the light welterweight quarter-final between Josh Taylor and Ryan Martin.
The fourth and final bantamweight quarter-final, the winner will progress to a unification versus WBO king Tete, who beat Russian amateur star Misha Aloyan, in the semi-finals in the new year. The other semi-final will see IBF champ Rodriguez defend versus Japanese tournament favourite Inoue following their respective wins over Jason Moloney and Juan Carlos Payano.