Ricky Burns from Scotland and Roman Martinez from Puerto Rico. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/PA Images via Getty Images)
It was party time in Scotland.
On September 4, 2010, Ricky Burns defeated then-undefeated Roman Martinez by a 12-round unanimous decision to claim the WBO junior lightweight title at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. The official scores were 115-112, 115-112 and 115-113.
Martinez had earned a reputation as a true puncher when he knocked out England’s Nicky Cook (TKO 4) in March 2009. The Puerto Rican power puncher had made two defenses, winning both fights by knockout.
Burns was a former Commonwealth junior lightweight champion and a rising force. Recent victories over Michael Gomez and Kevin O’Hara were well received and earned him mandatory status. However, many felt that the Scotsman’s deficiency in punching power (7 KO’s in 28 wins) would be the undoing of him.
The oddsmakers made Martinez a solid 3-1 favorite and from the start their opinions seemed warranted. After boxing well for most of the first round, Burns was dropped by a right hand and the partisan crowd fell silent. The challenger was not injured, but a message had been sent.
However, over the course of the fight, Burns took command. His jab doubled and tripled in the face of the more aggressive champion and he threw some incredible hooks to the body and a pinpoint right uppercut. Martinez never stopped trying, but was outmaneuvered and outboxed for the vast majority of the fight.
Burns became Scotland’s 12th world champion and would make three defenses. He would enjoy more glory in his career, claiming world titles at 135 and 140 pounds.