Just getting into the ring to fight is tough enough — but the odds of finishing the last 10 rounds of a battering with a cleanly broken jaw and winning are staggering — even if you're the hometown favorite.
Scotland's Ricky Burns (36-2-1, 11 KOs) has had a titanium plate fitted after breaking his jaw in the second round of his controversial draw with his American opponent Raymundo Beltran Saturday night. The WBO lightweight world champion still battled through the remaining 10 rounds in Glasgow before having surgery on Sunday morning.
And it wasn't like the 30-year-old Scot was having an easy go at Beltran.
Burns also climbed off the canvas to retain his title but a disappointed Beltran felt he was robbed after dominating large portions of the fight.
Beltran (28-6-1, 2 KOs) will not be awarded an immediate rematch however after Burns was ordered to face unbeaten mandatory challenger Terence Crawford when he recovers from his injury.
"What a fight that was — I take my hat off to Raymundo," Burns said. "I don't know how I got through that, I can hardly string two words together out here. I knew it was close. I was trying to stick to my jab. He was coming in swinging. I was worried about getting caught on the jaw again, when I did the pain was incredible. I'll get this jaw sorted and maybe me and Raymundo can do it again."
Burns apparently knew his jaw was busted early on.
"From the end of the fourth I was more concentrated on not getting my jaw hit," he added.
Burns' promoter Eddie Hearn, meanwhile, admitted he felt Beltran had edged the decision.
'It's difficult for me to score the fight with an emotional attachment, my gut feeling when I got in the ring was the Beltran had it after a close fight,' he tweeted.
"I'm not sure how Ricky continued for 10 rounds with an injury like that," he said."And right now my concerns are for him and making sure he is OK."
But Beltran was quick to criticize the "politics" of the sport after his first world title fight in front of Burns' countrymen.
"Politics, always the same thing in boxing," said Burns.
'There is money involved, it is business, every time they have a chance to protect their investment they do it. If I got beat I got beat, I've been getting robbed every time," he explained. "It is just so frustrating, there is so much sacrifice. We put ourselves on the line. But it is business."
The 32-year-old said he would consider a rematch but called for it to take place in the United States.