Classy Ray Beltran will either retire or move up in weight after defeat
By Bill Tibbs
IBF lightweight world champion Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KO’s) scored a TKO 8 over ex-WBO champion Ray Beltran (36-9-1, 22 KO’s) on Friday night at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.
The fight was the main event on ESPN on the Top Rank Boxing show that was a fight many knew was going to be a tough day at the office for the well-worn Beltran against the tough and talented Commey.
Beltran, in his 46th fight, failed to make weight coming in at 136.8, almost 2 pounds over the 135-lightweight limit so the IBF strap was only on the line for champion Commey.
Beltran, as tough as they come, was up and down like a fiddler’s elbow in this fight as Commey dropped Beltran twice in round one, once again in round five and a fourth time in round eight that prompted the referee’s stoppage.
Beltran, who is as nice a gentleman as you could hope to meet out of the ring, is a throw back fighter who has hung on in a tough game and gained the respect of all who know him. However, while Beltran may say that he was weakened by the difficult task of trying to make 135-pounds, (and he was), he also displayed the signs of a fighter who is struggling to find the reflexes that have allowed him to fight against some of boxing’s very best over an impressive, 20-year career.
Beltran still has the kind of power that will allow him to turn a fight around with one punch. However, on the few occasions he did catch Commey, the champion was able to absorb the shot. Whenever Commey landed solid shots on Beltran, he appeared to shake him up, as 4 trips to the canvas in the fight will attest.
Beltran has had a fantastic career that saw him in the ring with the likes of Hank Lundy, Ricky Burns and Terence Crawford, among others, before realizing his dream of winning a world title in February of 2018. He lost the belt in his first title defense losing to Jose Pedraza last summer. However, in true Beltran fashion, he came back in February of this year to knockout previously undefeated Hiroki Okada earning a title shot at Commey who came into California as champion after defeating Isa Chaniev in February of this year to pick up the IBF title (in his 2nd title shot).
While the rugged and game Beltran will always give anyone a fight, based on his willingness and toughness, against Commey on Friday night he looked like a guy who might have reached the end. I don’t like to say things like that but I would also hate to see Beltran hang on too long in a game where time, and the costs that often accompany it, are undefeated.
Beltran, interviewed in the ring after the stoppage, said that he “can’t really make a decision right now”.
One thing he did say is that he is done at 135-pounds and that if he did choose to return it will be at 140-pounds.
“He caught me with a good shot in the eighth round, and the referee decided to stop the fight”, said Beltran. “Now I am going to get together with my team and figure out what’s next. If I fight on, I will move up to 140 pounds.”
After the bout, Commey stated, “Beltran showed why he was a champion. He’s a great fighter who showed it against me tonight. I was happy to get the job done and defend my title for the first time”, he said.
Commey also spoke of red-hot lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez who was ringside for the fight.
“It looks like Teofimo Lopez is next, but he has a job to do first (Lopez fights July 19). That would be a great fight.”
After the bout, ageless Promoter Bob Arum said, “That was a great performance by Commey, who showed why he is a great champion. Beltran showed courage and resiliency. Teofimo Lopez has a job to do against Nakatani on July 19, and if he takes care of business, Teofimo will challenge Commey for the title in what will be a tremendous fight.”
Temecula undercard results
-Carlos Adames (18-0, 14 KO’s) UD 10 over Patrick Day (17-3-1, 6 KO’s) by scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 98-91.
-Miguel Angel Gonzalez (25-4, 22 KO’s) drilled previously unbeaten prospect Saul Rodriguez (23-1-1, 17 KO’s) at 1:23 of round 3 in a scheduled ten-round super featherweight bout.
-Lightweight Raymond Muratalla (8-0, 6 KO’s) of Fontana, California TKO 1 Agustine Mauras (6-6-3, 3 KO’s).
-Elvis Rodriguez (2-0, 2 KO’s) TD Joaquin Chavez (9-18-3, 2 KO’s), due to accidental head butt in round 1.
-Christopher Zavala (5-0, 2 KOs) UD 6 over Prisco Marquez (4-1-1, 1 KO) in a six-round contest.
- Dmitry Yun, (1-0) UD 4 over Jose Antonio Meza (6-4, 1 KO).
-David Kaminsky (5-0, 2 KO’s) of Los Angeles UD 4 over Osbaldo Gonzales