Ryan Burnett currently holds two belts, but it might be a while, if at all, before he holds three.
How long will he have to wait? Perhaps as long as it takes WBO champion, Zolani Tete, to reach retirement age.
What are we talking about? Let us digress for a moment…
Belfast born bantamweight, Ryan Burnett, captured the IBF title in June of 2017 by beating British boxer Lee Haskins.
In October of the same year, Burnett defeated Zhanat Zhakiyanov to become WBA champion or as the WBA calls it, now that Burnett has two belts, the “WBA super bantamweight title.”
“Now I want to get all those belts,” quipped Burnett after defeating Double-Z.
It makes sense to just about every boxing fan with a pulse that Burnett, 25, should face Tete, 29, for his WBO strap. It’s a fight all Northern Ireland wants to see as well as the South African pugilist.
“Ryan Burnett is in front of me now. He’s got two titles, and that’s what I’m looking for. If he’s the best, then he needs to fight the best,” explained Tete.
It’s an obvious match, after all “best versus best” is usually how the sports world works. Judging from what’s coming out of Burnett’s camp, they don’t care about such machinations.
Promoter Eddie Hearn is not interested in a Burnett-Tete tussle. Why? Hearn is concerned about Burnett’s bank account
“That’s not an example of a fight that will secure anyone’s financial future… Ryan Burnett makes the same money fighting a voluntary defense as he does fighting Zolani Tete,” Hearn told the Toe To Toe podcast.
That’s right. Hearn is putting off champion vs. champion to secure Burnett’s “financial legacy.” Before making the match that everyone is clamoring for, the promoter wants Burnett to have “his house all paid off.”
“I will NOT let him fight Zolani Tete for average money; unless we get to a point… where everything is secure,” said Hearn.
Go ahead and say what you will about Hearn, but at least he’s being honest in announcing that he’s dodging the 26-3 southpaw. It’s certainly better than saying he’s going to make a fight with Tete and then never doing it.
Many boxing fans are wondering if Hearn believes in his guy. Can Burnett defeat Tete?
Burnett underwhelmed in his clash with Zhakiyanov. He “wrestled” for 12 rounds making the fight extremely difficult to watch.
Meanwhile, Tete defeated Siboniso Gonya in eleven seconds. That’s not a typo. We didn’t mean to write “rounds.”
Tete connected on a wicked right hook just six seconds into the fight. The ref called it five seconds later.
Boxing’s conventional wisdom says Tete will destroy Burnett. That’s why many think stalling is the primary motivation behind Hearn’s new job as a financial planner—the promoter is waiting until the Tete ages out of the sport, maybe to pick up a less physical activity like listening to jazz or watching Netflix.
Regardless of Hearn’s true motivations, it’s odd that the two best fighters in their respective weight class aren’t immediately going to face one another anytime soon. What other sports actively keeps their top competitors apart?
There are some boxing experts who think it doesn’t matter. They are so turned off by Burnett’s recent performance, they feel he’ll drop his belts long before he throws down with Tete.
Up next for Burnett could be Jamie McDonnell or Paul Butler. Also, the World Boxing Council belt is vacant. Burnett might want to fight for that title too.