Ray Beltran vs. Jonathan Marcelo: IBF Lightweight Eliminator

In HBO Boxing, News/Updates by Bakari Simpson0 Comments

Written By Bakari Simpson: The already fantastic main event featuring ambidextrous super lightweight terror Terence Crawford vs. tricky southpaw Felix Diaz just got better. Alongside this outrageously competitive, and good-natured rivalry, Raymundo “Sugar” Beltran and Jonathan “The Last Inca” Maicelo have been added on. To the delight of both, Beltran (32-7-1, 20 KO’s) and Maicelo (25-2, 12 KO’s), when the two trade leather it will in an IBF lightweight title eliminator. In addition, the winner of this now very meaningful bout will collect the vacant WBA and NABF and NABO lightweight titles.

To the unknowledgeable, a brief perusal of Raymundo’s record will leave them believing he is less than top-tier. The seven defeats and early KO losses are misleading. However, further investigation into Beltran’s career and body of work will reveal him to be a top shelf competitor. While some may view very his early setbacks as a detractor, others use it to verify his heart and mental toughness. Not only did Beltran resolve himself to continue on as a fighter he rose to the heights of his division.

Here in his third world title bout Ray is ready and eager to put the past to bed. In his previous two attempts at a world title he had bitter experiences. In his initial title shot against Terence Crawford, Ray found himself resoundingly defeated by unanimous decision. He lost on the cards by the lopsided tallies of: 120-108, 119-109 twice.

Ray Beltran

Terence Crawford and Ray Beltran pose after weigh-ins for their 2014 fight. Photo Credit : Chris Farina/Top Rank

Six months later Raymundo would battle for the same WBO lightweight strap that Terence Crawford’s defeated him for. Crawford moved up to super lightweight making the belt vacant. Beltran slated to battle Takahiro Ao for ownership of the belt. On the night of the fight Ray won the bout by swift 2nd round TKO, yet the belt remained vacant. Ray was not eligible to claim the title because he failed to make weight. Adding insult to injury, not only did Raymundo neglect to make weight he was flagging for doping.

Beltran was caught with Stanozolol, otherwise called Winstrol, in his system. The steroid is used primarily to cut fat without losing muscle. Apparently, having a tough time making weight, Raymundo tried to get overly crafty. Beltran was quickly fined, suspended and his fight, at the time, with Humberto Soto was promptly canceled when the news broke.

Determined, and repentant, Beltran has taken two years to claw his way back into this new title shot with Jonathan Maicelo. Ray has earned this opportunity on the back of three consecutive knockout wins. Currently his confidence is riding high.

“We are ready for this fight. It is a very important fight for the whole team, because it will be the fight that will take us to the opportunity of battling for a world title. We are focused on winning. We are coming to fight and give a great show to all the fans. I don’t just want to win. I want to look good and win convincingly. Little by little I am making my dreams come true. I have battled a lot in my career. We have fulfilled many of our goals, like now that we are going to fight at Madison Square Garden. Being able to fight in a historical place, where all the greats have fought, is a dream come true.”

Ray Beltran

Entering the bout on a four match, almost two full years, win streak Maicelo is extremely confident.

This should make for one gritty and entertaining battle.

This interesting dustup will take place on the Terence Crawford vs Felix Diaz card May 20th, at Madison Square Garden, and will be aired on HBO World Championship Boxing. The program will begin at 10:15 pm.

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