Gorbals boxer Joe Ham believes that a Scottish super-fight between his two friends Ricky Burns and Josh Taylor will never happen, because Taylor is too young and too sharp for the former three-weight world champion.

Ham fought on the undercard of Burns’ unanimous points defeat to Anthony Crolla in Manchester last weekend, and competed alongside Taylor in the Commonwealth Games, so he is well-placed to discuss the merits of the bout.

And he doesn’t believe that there is anything to gain for Taylor taking the fight on, as well as having reservations about Burns stepping up from lightweight again after his creditable showing against Crolla.

“A Burns-Taylor fight will never happen,” said Ham. “Ricky proved that lightweight is where he should be at, and Josh is just too good, he’s a machine.

“I have travelled the world with Josh since I was 13-years-old, and been to two Commonwealth Games with him. Josh is special, he’s an animal.

“It’s not a slight on Ricky, who has been phenomenal and is still a top-level fighter.

“He did better against Crolla than people expected, but he would have to have knocked him out to get a decision down there.

“He proved though that there is plenty in the tank. That was probably his best performance in the last three or four years, and he proved to himself and everybody else that he has got a lot of big nights left in him.

“But Josh is just too young, too fresh and too sharp. And Ricky is the weight below as he proved in Manchester.

“I can’t see it, not anymore.”

Ham also poured cold water on the idea of Burns securing a rematch with Crolla in Glasgow, as much as he would love it to happen.

“Crolla isn’t going to do that, he might have a chance to have a world title fight in Manchester,” he said.

“There won’t be enough money or motivation for him to come up here and do that.

“But I think there will be fights for Ricky. I would love Crolla to come up, it makes sense for everybody up here, me included, but for his career he has to go where the best money is and you can’t knock him for that.”

For Ham, who beat the hardy Jose Aguilar in a straightforward points victory, being involved in big nights such as Saturday evening at the Manchester Arena is a motivating experience, and he is determined to one day reach the stage where he is headlining nights such as those rather than padding out the undercard.

Those dreams will have to be placed on hold for now though. The 26-year-old, a joiner to trade with City Building, admits that strapping on the tool-belt again after a taste of the high life will certainly bring him back down to earth.

“I’ve got a week off the now, but aye, it’s a bit of a comedown,” he said. “I’ll be up building a new nursing home in Pollok on Monday, but I’m looking forward to the banter.

“It’s all good, and City Building are a huge part of allowing me to do what I do.

“I’ll be back into full training camp on Monday too. It’s hard going, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

HeraldScotland | Sport

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