Anthony Crolla (32-6-3) won a unanimous points decision victory over Ricky Burns (41-7-1) in Manchester, with the scorecards reading 116-113, 116-114 and 117-112. With talk of one final push towards regaining world honours, let’s look at Crolla’s potential path in 2018.
1 Terry Flanagan (33-0)
WBO lightweight champion "Turbo" Terry Flanagan has been on Anthony Crolla's radar for a while. With Manchester pride up for grabs in a 'Manchester City vs Manchester United' billed event, this fight makes too much sense to be ignored.
With Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren rarely seeing eye-to-eye, this fight proved too tricky to make when they both held world titles, but now with Flanagan holding the aces, can a sensible split and promotional talks progress enough to get these two in the ring?
With limited options at world level for both fighters as we await the Linares vs Mikey Garcia news, this domestic dust-up is a no-brainer in terms of money, exposure and pride in their home city.
2 Ricky Burns (41–7–1)
"I owe these people here in Manchester another world title. I've also got no problem in going to Glasgow for a rematch." These were the words of Anthony Crolla after their fight on Saturday, and if world title doors don't open before the end of the year, a rematch may well be the best option as Crolla ventures away from his beloved Manchester Arena.
Despite Burns feeling he provided the cleaner work in Saturday's fight, there is no controversy regarding the result; meaning the hunger for a rematch may not be what Eddie Hearn and Matchroom are expecting it to be as the "two nicest guys in boxing" consider doing it all again.
Without real concussive power between them, it's hard to see the rematch going any other way with Crolla the younger fresher man providing the better work throughout the fight. If a rematch occurs, it'll be a last gasp money-spinner for the "Rickster" in Glasgow.
3 Luke Campbell (17–2)
Another domestic option is Britain's Olympic golden boy - Luke Campbell. Fresh off the back of a split decision loss to Jorge Linares last month, Campbell's stock has risen considerably at 135lbs.
Campbell expressed his desire in rematching Linares back in the UK, however as we await the expected news of a Linares-Garcia fight, Campbell may have to be patient for another shot at world honours.
Both promoted by Matchroom, it's hard to see Hearn putting Crolla in with the dangerous Campbell, seeing as he clearly believes both can earn future world title shots. A defeat for either in this domestic fight could signal the end of their charge towards a world title; a limitation Eddie Hearn won't be keen on.
Speaking to Sky Sports on Sunday, Crolla showed his interest in this 'Battle of Britain' fight -
"He did very well a few weeks back, even more so following the news that came out about him losing his father, it must have been so tough. But he showed he's world class. It's another 'Battle of Britain' and it's a fight that makes business sense. It's something that I'd be happy to go with. I'm just interested in being involved in big fights just like on Saturday night."
4 Daud Yordan (37-3)
Ranked at #1 by the WBA at 135lbs, Indonesian 30-year-old Daud Yordan is an option for Crolla in his quest to regain his WBA strap. With Linares potentially vacating his title to move up in weight, an eliminator with Yordan could bring the Mancunian one step closer to world honours again.
Fighting in Singapore, Greece, Australia, USA and Indonesia, Yordan shouldn't have any problem travelling to the UK, with a significant payday the carrot that could be dangled by Matchroom.
5 Evens Pierre (28-1)
Ranked at #2 by the WBA, Evens Pierre is another option for Crolla to venture towards in an eliminator for his old strap. With just one defeat on his record in 2010, the Haiti born fighter is on a 16-win streak and would surely be open to the prospect of fighting abroad after fighting out of Panama and Haiti his whole career.
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