The £1 million payday he was promised for putting his belt on the line against Adrien Broner in December will not now happen.
Burns sustained a perforated eardrum in the second round against Relikh, with the decision much closer than the judges’ cards would have you believe (Jesus Cova, from Venezuela, who scored it 118-110 for the Scot, shouldn’t work at this level again).
That injury ensures that any meeting with Broner, a world champion in four different weight divisions, cannot happen until January at the earliest.
Of course, there are no guarantees with the unpredictable Broner, a troubled individual who has been jailed twice already this year, the first time for a probation violation in Ohio and then for turning up three hours late for his trial in Cincinatti in July (the judge claimed he was drunk) for felonious assault and aggravated robbery.
He was supposed to have been at ringside in Glasgow on Friday but, true to form, he did not show.
“I’m glad Ricky took this fight because you can’t really always rely on Adrien Broner,” said Burns’ promoter, Eddie Hearn. “He was supposed to be here [on Friday] and then I saw last night on social media that he was in some nightclub.
“At this stage of Ricky’s career you don’t want to be derailed. I think Broner is great for Ricky, he deserves that big fight in America and I think he wins it as well.
“There are a few things to tinker with on the deal, [primarily that] we want some more money. That is the important thing and I think that’s what should happen next.
“I’m very confident of getting Broner but there might be another fight that comes up. Ricky is in a great position; if he was a challenger we’d be scratching around looking to fight champions. Now the others can come and get the belt but, if they want a shot, they have to pay for it, especially at this stage of his career.
“Who knows how many fights he’s got left? He’s like Benjamin Button.”
Relikh started and finished strongly but Burns’ conditioning paid off and he credits his Stakhanovite shifts in the gym for pulling him through.
“[Trainer] Tony [Sims] will tell you that I’m guilty sometimes of putting in too much effort in sparring but my belief is that, if I’m doing that every day in the gym, I can do it on fight night,” said the 33-year-old.
“I’m glad I do that because there were times against Relikh when I had to dig deep.”
Burns has always had tunnel vision when it comes to his career but he admits that headlining at the MGM Grand or Caesar’s Palace would be good for his legacy.
“In my eyes, it’ll just be another fight but obviously it’ll be something I can tick off my bucket list,” he said.
“However, I don’t think it’ll be until I’ve retired that I’ll be able to look back on my career and think: ‘Do you know what? I’ve done all right.’ Right now, though, I’m just getting on with it.
“I’ve never mouthed off in the way some people do. I’ve never said that I’m the best around but I know what I’m capable of and I’ll always give my all.”