There was an element of Carl Frampton versus Raul Hirales about it all.
A Belfast fighter had given a boxing masterclass against a respected foe and, rather than rejoice in the splendor of skill on display, blood-thirsty fans, and indeed Sky Sport pundits, felt an urge to voice criticism.
Ryan Burnett claimed the British bantamweight Title with a nigh-on punch-perfect performance on Saturday night in Manchester. Burnett registered a shut-out points win over Jason Booth, a former World title challenger who has shared the ring with a host of big names, in just his twelfth pro outing.
It was a performance that reconfirmed the Belfast prospects talent for Irish fight fans, but after having Booth down in the first stanza, the Sky pundits felt the 23 year old Matchroom fighter should have shown a killer instinct and taken the former Scott Quigg and Kiko Martinez foe, who recently took World champion Lee Haskins the distance, out.
Burnett hit back at critics on social media and explained the thought process behind the method of his victory.
— Ryan Burnett (@ryanburnett01) November 23, 2015
The bantamweight, who will fight in Manchester on February 27th before returning to top a bill in Belfast in April, claimed coach Adam Booth had warned him about jumping on the experienced operator if he hurt him early. He also stated that the 12 rounds would prove more beneficial than a 3 minute blow out in the long run.
“I learnt to stay calm and keep on boxing, no matter what they are trying, don’t lose the head, stay focused and I thought against Booth I did that.”
“I hurt him a few times, but he gave nothing away. He knows how to protect himself, so I was glad to get the 12 rounds under my belt.
I had him down in the first, but we had talked about this and if it happened, we knew Jason can take care of himself.
“So if I had rushed in there to blast him out, he knows hos to protect himself and he would have been looking for me to punch myself out. I just knew not to jump on him straight away and I knew I had to use my brain more than my heart.”
The criticism, which in fairness only came from certain quarters and was minute, was certainly reminiscent of Frampton versus Hirales, but Frampton is now a World champion who is regarded as an exciting puncher.