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Beltran Gets Title Opportunity

(Photo © K9 Photos)
(Photo © K9 Photos)


Ray Beltran, who challenges WBO lightweight beltholder Ricky Burns this weekend in Glasgow, was boxing’s angriest man not too long ago. In the wake of questionable decision losses to Sharif Bogere and Luis Ramos two fights later, he had had it with the politics of the sport, which oftentimes supersedes what takes place in the ring.
 
Quitting the game was very much on his mind back in the early part of 2012.
 
“Honestly, yeah, after I fought Bogere and then I fought Ramos, I thought I won those fights and then I never stopped believing in myself and all that but there was a point I felt the business was using me as a steppingstone to build other fighters,” Beltran said outside the Wild Card Boxing Club a week before he left for Scotland. “I started hating the business a little bit.”

Bogere and Ramos were then-undefeated prospects being developed by Golden Boy Promotions and Beltran was the decided B-side. A solid veteran chosen to provide a stern test - but perhaps not as tough as he eventually revealed himself as. Regardless, he came up short on the scorecards in two fights he arguably won. The reality was Bogere and Ramos were the guys getting the promotional push; they were the ones that were thought to have an upside. Beltran? Well, he was just another faceless fighter brought in to pad a record. Guys like him are supposed to get shafted and accept it.
 
Beltran says, “I love boxing, love the sport but the business is not fair.” It’s a sentiment echoed by many who have chosen this profession. Hall of Fame matchmaker Teddy Brenner’s book was titled Only the Ring Was Square for a reason.
 
On the heels of the Ramos loss, Beltran got another call to face another rising fighter.
 
“The opportunity came with [Henry] Lundy and I said, ‘Y’ know what? I made some other mistakes in the last fight, the prior fights, but I’m going to do my best and if this goes wrong - that’s it. I’m done because I’m not going to let nobody use me and I don’t want to be unhappy.’ I want to be happy with the sport. That’s the point where I thought, ‘If things don’t go good, I’m not going to let them use me as a steppingstone,’ stuff like that.”
 
And in a tightly contested affair in July of last year, Beltran would finally catch a break, winning a close decision versus the talented southpaw in front of a national audience on ESPN2. This was like Schleprock finally running into some good luck. And with that, soon, his manager, Steve Feder landed him a deal with Top Rank.
 
“To me, when I got the call to fight Lundy, I looked at it as a good sign for me,” said the 32-year-old Beltran, who has a mark of 28-6 (17). “I said, ‘Y’ know what? You fought these two guys; instead of going backwards, I’m fighting the number one guy, getting something even better.’ So to me, that was a sign. I really believed that was my destiny to win the fight and become victorious. That was my time for my boxing life to change after that fight.”
 
Now Beltran is a connected fighter. And yes, it absolutely matters.
 
“That’s it: you just need to be with the right people and just have a little bit of talent or have a lot of talent. They do the work for you and all you need is to be with the right people. It’s all about who you know and who you work with,” said Beltran, who has since defeated Ji-Hoon Kim and Alejandro Rodriguez in bouts where he was the featured attraction.
 
Beltran is now more than just a sparring partner to Manny Pacquiao; he’s an actual contender. But he points out that his past was born out of necessity. “One thing I want to tell you, people say I have a ‘sparring partner mentality’ and stuff like that but people don’t really pay attention. I wasn’t fighting for awhile. It’s not that I was a sparring partner; they put me like that because I was sparring with Manny Pacquiao but I got no choice. The thing is, inactivity messes you up. It takes time to get comfortable in the ring and I was with Don King. He gave me like two fights in three years and then I fought this guy, [David] Torres, and then a year later, I fought again and then I fought Bogere.”
 
(Yeah, nowadays, “fighting” under the Don King banner is like basically taking a hiatus from your career.)
 
“There was not much activity. It’s not about having a ‘sparring partner mentality’; it’s about the difference in the gym and fighting in the fight,” he continued. Beltran’s greatest fear was not necessarily losing fights or never winning a world title; it was the fear he wasn’t even going to get his chance to ever do something significant in this game.
 
“I tried everything I could, knocking on doors here and there, trying to call people, ‘Hey, give me a fight with any of your guys. I want to fight,’ and because I was by myself, nobody listened to me. It took awhile but all I can say is we’ve made it on our own,” said Beltran.
 
From contemplating retirement to now being on the verge of a world title. 
 
“That’s it; it means everything to me. It’s all I’ve been working for my whole life. Everything. I’ve been struggling my whole career to get to this point, so it means a lot of things. It’s my dream come true. It opens the door for me to make bigger fights for money to secure my kids’ future.”
 
SWITCHEROO
 
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer was headed to New York on Tuesday but he did inform Maxboxing on Tuesday afternoon (via email) that the November 9th pay-per-view card that will potentially see a match-up between Adrien Broner and Marcos Maidana will move to December 14th (and will still take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas).
 
This is probably the wise move. On November 9th, HBO is going with a tripleheader featuring the likes of Nonito Donaire, Mikey Garcia and a clash between Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade.
 
Schaefer also noted they will be doing a card from the StubHub Center in Carson, California on November 2nd but would not elaborate on the evening’s featured attraction.
 
SPORTS ON EARTH
 
Here’s my latest contribution to SportsOnEarth.com on Tommy Morrison, who passed away Monday at the age of 44:
 
 
MIDWEEK FLURRIES
 
 
Wale Omotoso and Mercito Gesta were among several fighters given their releases by Top Rank, who is trimming the fat...As for where the November 9th card on HBO will land, venues in Texas, California and Las Vegas are being discussed. A deal could be made by the end of the week...The Burns-Beltran fight will be televised in the States by Wealth Entertainment at 3 p.m., ET.....James Winston might already be an upgrade at quarterback over E.J. Manuel for FSU but let’s see what he does versus a better defensive unit than Pitt (which wasn’t exactly trotting out Hugh Green and Darrelle Revis on Monday night)...CBS and Time Warner Cable have resolved their differences. Good, no football or “Big Bang Theory” was missed...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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