GLENDALE, Ariz. (Aug. 23, 2018) – The stakes are high for WBO lightweight world champion Ray Beltran and challenger José “Sniper” Pedraza, with the winner expected to fight WBA lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko later this year. Beltran and Pedraza met at the final press conference for the next edition of “Top Rank on ESPN”, which will take place Saturday evening at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona (10:30 ET/7:30 PST).

In the co-feature, Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe will make the first defense of his WBO junior featherweight title against Japanese challenger Hidenori Otake. And, in a six-round super featherweight special attraction, 2016 U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer will make her long-awaited ESPN network debut against former world title challenger Edina Kiss.

Here is what they had to say.

Ray Beltran

“Now I have the belt and people see me as a champion. But before that, I already felt like a champion. It’s good to get recognition from the boxing world, but like I said before, I don’t feel different. Things have changed around me, but I’m still the same guy. I’m a contender. I’m the underdog. Once you get the world title, there are new challenges. You’re always looking for the best challenges out there, and now I have a very important fight against a very difficult and tough opponent. In my mind, I don’t get overconfident. I get confident, but not overconfident.”

“In 1996, I came to the United States illegally. I did it, not because I wanted to, but because I had to. Thanks to that, I’m making my dream come true. I want to dedicate this fight to all of the immigrants all over the world, especially to my Mexican people. I represent them with so much pride. Just to show the world that we don’t come to commit no crime. We come here to get a better future for our family. I represent that. I represent the truth.”

José Pedraza

“It means a lot to me. This is the second opportunity I’m getting for a world title. I really want to win this world title because I want to bring happiness to Puerto Rico after what happened with Hurricane Maria.”

“It will be a lot of emotion and happiness for me when they say, ‘and the new champion’. but I don’t like to get ahead of myself. One step at a time, but if I win the title, it’s going to mean a lot to Puerto Rico. It’s going to bring happiness to my people.”

Isaac Dogboe

“First and foremost, I give all the glory to the almighty God for bringing me here safely and making me who I am today. Otake is a great guy, and I can’t wait to get back on ESPN. It’s a big platform for myself and also a great platform to showcase my talent once again. I want to say thank you to Bob Arum and Top Rank promotions and all the staff for putting this show together. It’s great. It is always a huge platform. Like I said, Otake is a great guy. Physically, he’s strong. This is his second world title challenge, his second opportunity, and we know he’s going to come out fighting. He’s going to come out guns blazing. But, you know, like we always say, we don’t have to get ready, we’re always prepared. Everything he brings to the table, we have an answer for it. Come Saturday night, you don’t have to stay at home. Everyone has to come down to the Gila River Arena. It’s going to be fireworks because there’s no way that something we worked so hard for is going to slip through our hands. He says he’s going to be fighting for his soul. I have no need for his soul because I did not create him. I just want to knock him out on Saturday night and retain my title.”

“Hidenori is very tough, and he’s a credit to Japan. He’s one of the guys who’s making Japan boxing rise. At this moment, he’s a stumbling block that’s in my way to get to a unification fight. We are looking to go out there Saturday night and put on a masterclass performance and look forward to unify the division, God willing. With Top Rank and Bob Arum, we can hopefully fight at the end of the year or early next year in a unification fight. Hard work never stops. Right now, our main target is to take care of Hidenori Otake.”

Hidenori Otake

“First of all, I am so very happy to be here. I want to thank Bob Arum and everyone at Top Rank for giving me this amazing opportunity. As you may know, in my first world title match in England {against Scott Quigg}, I lost. As happy as I am, taking that into consideration, I have trained very hard to make the most of this opportunity.”

ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET
Ray Beltran (champion) vs. José Pedraza (challenger), 12 rounds, WBO lightweight title

Mikaela Mayer vs. Edina Kiss, 6 rounds, super featherweight

Isaac Dogboe (champion) vs. Hidenori Otake (challenger), 12 rounds, WBO junior featherweight title

Tickets to this world championship doubleheader, priced at $125, $75, $50, and $25, not including applicable fees, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Gila River Arena Box Office, by phone at 800.745.3000, or online at

Use the hashtags #BeltranPedraza, #DogboeOtake, and #MayerKiss to join the conversation on social media.

PHOENIX (Aug. 22, 2018) – Ray Beltran is returning home to defend his title and Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe is looking to bring some lightning and thunder to the desert.

Beltran will defend the WBO lightweight title against former 130-pound champion José Pedraza, Dogboe will make the first defense of his WBO 122-pound world title against Hidenori Otake, and Mayer will face off against Edina Kiss in a six-round special attraction.

Beltran-Pedraza, Dogboe-Otake will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The entire undercard will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m ET.

On Wednesday, many of the fighters from Saturday’s 11-fight card worked out for the media at Michael Carbajal’s 9th Street Gym. This is what they had to say.

Ray Beltran

On life as a world champion: “Things have changed a little bit, the way people talk to me and act around me. For me, I still feel like I’m a contender. I’m still the underdog.”

“I think fighting Jose Pedraza and defending my world title near my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, is a dream come true. Defending my title against a Puerto Rican, with the rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico, there’s nothing better than that.”

On fighting in Arizona: “You know how I am. I try to fight and put on a good show and try to make my fans happy. It’s going to be a great fight!”

José Pedraza

On the significance of becoming a two-weight world champion: “It would mean a lot to me because not everyone gets the opportunity to become a world champion. Even fewer boxers become two-division world champions. I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

On staying active in 2018 with three fights: “I like to be more active. I can see the difference. I am more focused. I see that now I’m more mature as a fighter.”

On fighting pressure fighters like Beltran: “A pressure fighter is a perfect style for me because I am more of a boxer. The pressure Beltran puts on a fighter is different because he knows how to cut the ring off very well. He’s going to be tough, but I know we’re going to be victorious.”

Isaac Dogboe

On life as a world champion: “I give praise to the man upstairs, God of creation. We thank him for everything that has happened to Team Dogboe. Being a world champion is great.”

On the reception he received in his native Ghana after winning the title: “The whole nation came out to meet me at the airport. It was amazing.”

On joining the rich history of Ghanaian world champions: “I am very humbled. Boxing in Ghana isn’t as regarded as it is over here. We’ve been able to revive boxing over there. They are loving it. We are changing the perspective of the sport. It is great.”

On Hidenori Otake: “Otake is very strong, physically strong. He has a great record. You can’t underestimate Otake. We’re not underestimating him at all. He’s someone we have our eyes on, and we’re making sure, come Saturday, we are going to take him out.”

On the lack of trash talk compared to before the Jessie Magdaleno fight: “Otake is a gentleman. He’s so humble, and when two humble warriors come together, it’s mutual respect. And that’s how we’re taking it.”

Hidenori Otake

On Isaac Dogboe: “He is a good pressure fighter and a strong fighter. I’m going to use his pressure and his power against him.”

On the recent success of Japanese fighters: “Japanese boxers have been fighting very well recently, and I am looking to do the same. It’s great for Japanese boxing when we come to America and do very well.”

CIDRA, P.R. – José “Sniper” Pedraza already knows how it feels to have a world title in his hands. Now, the former world champion guarantees he will experience that sensation again on Aug. 25 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

On that night, Pedraza (24-1, 12 KOs) will challenge WBO Lightweight champion Ray Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) in the main event of an ESPN-televised card.

Pedraza, who will depart for Las Vegas on Saturday to finish training camp, worked out for the Puerto Rican media Wednesday afternoon. This is what he had to say.

About his world title fight: “I feel very motivated, and I know I will have a great fight against Ray Beltran. He is a strong fighter who always leaves everything in the ring and battled for a long time until becoming a world champion. I know that this will be a classic war between Mexico and Puerto Rico.”

On what fans can expect from him on Aug. 25: “Fans can expect great boxing skills and a great victory from myself. I am focused on my career and on this fight. On Aug. 25, Puerto Rico will have a new world champion.”


Beltran-Pedraza, the Isaac Dogboe-Hidenori Otake WBO junior featherweight title bout, and Mikaela Mayer vs. Edina Kiss will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET, with undercard action streaming live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

Tickets to this world championship doubleheader, priced at $125, $75, $50, and $25, not including applicable fees, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Gila River Arena Box Office, by phone at 800.745.3000, or online at

For more information visit:,; Facebook:,,; Twitter:,, @ESPN @ESPNBoxeo, @ESPNDeportes.

Use the hashtags #BeltranPedraza, #DogboeOtake, and #MayerKiss to join the conversation on social media.

Beltran to defend WBO lightweight title against Jose Pedraza Aug. 25 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona

LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes

(Aug. 6, 2018) — Ray Beltran scratched and clawed and spent nearly 19 years as a pro boxer before earning his first world title. He outpointed Paulus Moses on Feb. 16 in Reno, Nevada, to win the vacant WBO lightweight title, a lifelong dream finally fulfilled. A native of Los Mochis, Mexico, Beltran is now a proud resident of Phoenix, a short drive from where he will make his first title defense.

Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) will defend his title against former 130-pound world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza as the headliner of an ESPN-televised card, Aug. 25 at the Gila River Area in Glendale, Arizona.

Beltran returned home Saturday for a full slate of media activities, including an open workout at Gent’s Boxing Club in Glendale and as a guest broadcaster for the second inning of the Arizona Diamondbacks Alumni Game.

This is what he had to say.

On his future: “Hopefully, we have another big fight coming up against {Vasiliy} Lomachenko. I’m pretty happy when I fight the best. I’ve had no easy fights in my boxing career. We made our own way. We made our own name. We got a contract with Top Rank after 20-something fights. Nobody created our record. I have a lot of knockouts, but I have more power than it looks like on {my record}. All the losses that I have, four or five were robberies. I’m ready. Right now, I’m focused on Pedraza, but we dream big.”

On fighting for Phoenix and Mexico: “I feel like my heart is in half. I feel like a Phoenix fighter, but I’m also a Mexican fighter from my hometown. I can’t believe what I’ve come from. I come from nothing. I come from a place where nobody is supposed to make it. I think it’s important that the people where I came from know about it, so they get the message — whatever you want to do in life, if you work hard, you can make a change.”

On his opponent: “Pedraza is a former world champion. I believe he’s going to bring some heat. He’s going to come and fight hard to take the belt away from me. He bobs and moves around the ring a lot. He’s got good footwork, but we’ve been working at Wild Card with all different types of styles.”

Beltran-Pedraza and the Isaac Dogboe-Hidenori Otake WBO junior featherweight title bout will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET, with undercard action streaming live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

Tickets to this world championship doubleheader, priced at $125, $75, $50, and $25, not including applicable fees, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Gila River Arena Box Office, by phone at 800.745.3000, or online at

For more information visit:,; Facebook:,,; Twitter:,, @ESPN @ESPNBoxeo, @ESPNDeportes.

Use the hashtags #BeltranPedraza and #DogboeOtake to join the conversation on social media.

Photo by Chas Wright

TODD duBOEF: I would like to welcome everybody to our inaugural U.S.-based promotion that will be live on ESPN, this Saturday, at 10 p.m. ET. There is no other way to start off than with Vasyl Lomachenko. The event in itself, coming from Los Angeles [LA Live’s Microsoft Theater], having Vasyl be the debut fighter, and obviously to be discussing when somebody is pound-for-pound the best, the accolades are there and he has delivered time in and time out in his very short career. 

But for me to talk about how great somebody is, I have only been in the business 25 years, but I always talk to our esteemed matchmaker Bruce Trampler, and I say, “Bruce how great is he?” Vasyl, he is one of the only fighters where Bruce will say, “He is something very special.” So he couldn’t be special without his father who is an incredible influence on him, and also his mental trainer, the psychologist who helps him prepare mentally. To be a perfect athlete and have the perfect training he has a great team.

EGIS KLIMAS: We are very excited to speak about our upcoming fight on ESPN. We are going to be available to a much bigger audience and everyone is going to be able to see who Vasyl Lomachenko is and how great he is at what he does and looking forward very, very much and to thank Top Rank for taking us to this level of his career.

You just fought in April and now you are right back in there again and could fight again a third time this year – is this what you like?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: This is exactly what I wanted, and exactly what I needed at this point because right now I am at the peak of my career – my best years – and I need to be more active as possible. I need to be in the ring as much as possible.

As the manager, can you give me your perspective about that?

EGIS KLIMAS: If the fighter is only going in the ring two times a year everyone forgets about him. My point is a champion should fight at least three times a year and if possible, four. It depends how quick you can get, and of course we all know this is a business too. The problems come from the networks and there are a lot of questions to get to that point but of course we are very happy to be able to fight three times a year.

What are the goals that Vasyl has beyond this fight – is it more belts, moving up to higher divisions, or fighting specific fighters?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: The biggest thing for me is I want to fight top, top fighters in the weight class that I am now fighting in. That is my biggest goal. Then maybe it is different weight classes. I want to be in the history book of boxing – I want my name to be mentioned when people talk about the history of boxing. Most important for me is to fight the best – where the fight means something – fans want it – people want to see it. I want to be on top of the list.

Is a fight against Marriaga one that delivers for him?

EGIS KLIMAS: Vasyl is a fighter. He is not choosing opponents and he is not trying to avoid anybody or, lets put it this way, afraid to step in the ring against anybody. He is a guy that is always asking “let’s train – come on over, come on over.” Top Rank can tell you we were thinking we were going to be fighting Orlando Salido and Salido dragged his feet and then Marriaga came about at the last minute – we had a few weeks before the bout. So beggars cannot be choosers.

TODD duBOEF: when you reach the frequency of bouts in a year – you can’t always have the biggest fight, so if we accelerate the frequency and he becomes more aware to everybody out there, you’re right, you may just have a real solid tough guy, like a Marriaga, in front of you, then all the sudden you get to a bigger fight that comes along and things like that happen then a title unification may come along like another solid top- five contender, so we can’t be so selective all the time. We would like to hit two paths – one is to get the best matches for Vasyl and Egis, and two is to keep the frequency going. We don’t want his career to stop because the right match isn’t there.

What do you see as the big matches you can make?

TODD duBOEF: Obviously you have a Salido rematch if Vasyl is still interested in that. And if Salido is real about that. Rigondeaux is yapping his mouth pretty good and that would be two of the most highly heralded amateurs. Vasyl has basically cleaned out the division and he will fight anybody so if he wants to go up in weight there are fighters at 135 that he can fight. I think there are tons of opportunities for him. We obviously want to work with them and with Egis on his move of the weight class. There was talk that he may jump to 135 for this fight but he is comfortable staying at 130 right now and we just pick and choose who we go through.

Do you see a fight with Mikey Garcia, who stated last week he does not want stay-busy fights and wants to fight the best?

TODD duBOEF: I would like to interject here. I am tired with people filing you guys with a bunch of (BS) and telling you ‘we want to fight the greatest fight with the best fighters out there – we are available.’ That is complete nonsense. Mikey Garcia turned down Yuriorkis Gamboa. He turned down Gamboa which would have made him something so don’t tell me he is striving to fight the best out there. He then came and says ‘oh, I want to fight Manny Pacquiao’ after a two-year layoff, ‘I want to fight Terence Crawford, I want to fight Vasyl Lomachenko.’ That’s great, we are here. His (bleeping) trainer shows up to say ‘hey we want to talk about it’ and he goes out and then makes the Broner fight. Stop the nonsense. Stop it. These guys yap (BS) to you guys like they are these pristine people. They don’t go out there and make matches. Vasyl has never dodged anybody. Crawford has never dodged anybody. Nobody goes out there to fight everybody out there. I hate these guys that say ‘oh, the reason is why they wanted the big fights out there’ then they wouldn’t fight Gamboa. It’s nonsense.

EGIS KLIMAS: Mikey Garcia, Mikey Garcia, after the fight he said clearly ‘whoever is willing to fight on Showtime, I will fight you. He is over there choosing the network. I think we are in a different grade. I would love to fight Mikey Garcia. It would give a big name to Vasyl, but..

TODD duBOEF: I don’t even think it’s a big name (laughing)

You don’t think it’s a big name after that victory?

TODD duBOEF: After what victory? I saw the fight, believe it or not. I didn’t think it was an incredible performance. He outpointed Broner. I didn’t think it was a scintillating fight. I thought he won the fight clearly. I wasn’t thinking ‘Oh my God, the masses are clamoring to see him. I am being honest with you. I think he had a nice fight. He fought well. Broner wasn’t throwing a lot of punches and Mikey did a good job, but a big name? A big name is Mikey Garcia now? I don’t see that.

In all of the fighters around that weight class, you’ve got to admit Garcia is a bigger name than Rigondeaux…

EGIS KLIMAS: You mean bigger in the fight? (laughing)

It’s a bigger fight…

TODD duBOEF: Listen, if Mikey Garcia is interested in the fight, have his guys call us. We are in. Any time. I mean the guy leaves us then says the three fighters I want to fight are Pacquiao, Crawford and Lomachenko. Why would you leave? You went on strike for two years. I hate to call it how it is guys.

Do you view Mikey Garcia as a guy you want to fight?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: His trainer Robert Garcia, Robert Garcia mentioned that Mikey is a fighter A-Class. I hadn’t seen anything during that bout that showed me he was a Class-A outstanding fighter. Yes, he won the fight. Yes, he did everything to win the fight, what he needed to be, but I haven’t seen anything outstanding and I haven’t seen him being a A-Class fighter.

TODD duBOEF: Heeey, the promoter and the fighter think alike! Can you believe this? (laughing)

Who is the one guy you want if you are going to have a big fight by the end of the year?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: At this point it really doesn’t matter what I want. I was asked that question before the Jason Sosa bout came off. I told them, before this bout, after the Sosa bout again I was asked by reporters who I want to fight. I said it really doesn’t matter who I want – it is more like who is available. I am preparing for one big name, one big fight, and the fight like Sosa and this upcoming fight on Saturday – it is just like my training session for ONE BIG FIGHT, then the one big fight is going to bring up and you have my promoter on the line, and you can ask them, what are they trying to bring me in the ring. I am a boxer. I am not a picker. Whoever is in front of me I am going to be fighting this guy.

Do you think the Salido fight is still a possibility?

TODD duBOEF: I think a little bit of the perspective is that we really wanted to launch the ESPN thing with Lomachenko preferably in a rematch with Salido. We were getting representation that he was going to take a tune-up fight in May and then Lomachenko, but they kind of dragged this out then saying he had a hurt hand, he couldn’t make the weight. Listen, our business model is a little different than what our business model has been in the past when we had to wait on fighters to make fights to stay active. So what we did, we said listen, Vasyl is a commercially incredible fighter that we want the public to see. He is not going to be held up by an opponent or a situation. We are going to make him available so that millions of people can watch him on ESPN and can see his story and can see his brilliance and that’s why we pivoted to Marriaga. If Salido comes back and says ‘I am ready for the fight and I’m sorry about all of this stuff, I am healthy now, let’s go’ then I talk to Vasyl and Egis and we are all in. We are here to make good matches and to give the public what they want.

Since he will be available to millions more viewers how much of a bigger star can he become?

TODD duBOEF: I don’t want to make a judgment just on the fight. We are talking about and we can all analyze the two hour or two and a half hour block on ESPN or if it’s on FOX or CBS, HBO or Showtime. I think what everybody should take note of is all of the commotion leading up to the fight on the ESPN platforms. That is the shoulder programming that is driving awareness to it and that is going to be invaluable. I think not only is it going to drive the audience to the fight but also it is going to make Vasyl noticeable to the general sports fan and that’s what we are looking for. So tune in to ESPN all week and you are going to be seeing tons of promos, snippets and interviews, the weigh-ins are live and everything in a 360 perspective and following our sport like they used to. It’s not just about fight night.

What is your perspective on fighting Salido?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, I would like to fight Salido but probably within a one-year period. If it is longer than that I am not going to be interested in fighting him because that bout wouldn’t mean anything. But in general I would like to get back in the ring with him to see how much better I can be in the second bout.

What do you think about Marriaga?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: I did see his bout against Oscar Valdez and what can I tell about him? He is strong and his conditioning is good. He has skills so I think about, what everybody else thinks is going to be easy, I don’t think it is going to be easy for me.

Did you see the Berchelt-Miura fight a couple weeks ago and would you like to fight him?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, I really would like to fight Miguel Berchelt [WBC super featherweight champion] to unify the titles and I would like to have one more belt into my collection.

What do you think you can do to increase your star power?

TODD duBOEF: Vasyl has nine fights. This guy has nine fights. You tell me somebody after nine fights, or ten fights. He has a very limited number of fights and his appeal right now is very high for the limited number of bouts he has had. We believe by flipping the switch and doing the fights on ESPN and exposing him to the masses I think his star power is going to grow when people see him, when they see him train, when they see how he fights. But right now, with his limited number of fights – most guys are righting four-rounders off television, so I think he is doing damn well.

In closing…

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, ii would like thank everybody for your attention and I would like to thank everybody for putting my name in all of your stories and I will see you all on August 5th and you guys are going to see another great show.

Ray Beltran – how is the Green Card progress?

STEVE FEDER: Sure, we were going to file right after the Jonathan Maicello fight in May [one-punch second knockout victory] but once we heard that Top Rank had made the deal with ESPN – the more press we have collected the better – and we had a great response after the last fight, we decided to hold off the application until after this fight. So in two weeks, after this fight is over, we are going to file. All of the press coverage we get for this fight will go in with the application.

How do you feel about getting another title shot?

RAY BELTRAN: Well, you know I think after all of the hard work I got respect which is very hard to get and it is very exciting for me and my team and we all feel great about it.

After your last title fight loss, did you think it was over or you could build your self back up again?

RAY BELTRAN: No, I didn’t feel that. The way I felt with my abilities I would be able to make it back for another title shot and it was just a matter of time.

TODD duBOEF: Ray did what he had to do and was explosive in doing that when the opportunities came up. When he fought underneath Crawford – sensational one-punch knockouts – in Omaha and in New York – and you want to know what? That’s telegenic. People want to see that. He didn’t just sleepwalk through the performance. He went out and made a statement, and you get bonus for that, and we thought bringing Ray back right away, sending him once again to a larger audience, hoping that he will be better and have a terrific performance on Saturday.

How do you feel about being on ESPN and how that may help you in getting a Green Card?

RAY BELTRAN: I feel great and it makes me think about those days when the Friday Night Fights were on ESPN and a lot of people and friends are gong to be able to see my fight and they are going to be able to see who I am and I can’t wait to be on ESPN. I am so happy to be part of Top Rank and this new project and my promoter gives me all of these new opportunities.

Thoughts on Bryan Vasquez?

RAY BELTRAN: He is a very tough opponent. I know he is going to fight. We both have different goals. He’s got a big opportunity to fight me and I have a big challenge in front of me. My focus is on the title and also on the Green Card situation, which is my big motivation to win the fight. He is a good fighter and I want to impress the people and I just can’t wait to get in the ring but I am very confident by the way it is going in the gym and my mind is 100% right now.

What is it like getting in the ring knowing you are fighting for the Green Card?

RAY BELTRAN: Let me tell you how I look at it – when you have doubt you are not going to make it. I have no doubt and I have motivation. I believe it is going to go good. I really believe in myself and I believe in my team. I just can’t wait to be in the ring and I am so excited to get in the ring and put on a good show for the fans. It is my time and my moment and I can’t wait.

When did you begin the process of trying to obtain the Green Card?

STEVE FEDER: As soon as this fight is over, since it is on ESPN and we wanted to take advantage of the media coverage, and within two weeks after this fight, we are going to file. We have been collecting all of the letters of support then we will file and that is the first part of the process and they will look at it then and tell you what the application looks like before the final submission and if it needs tweaking they will let us know – we pay a little extra for that – and from that point on it is about a four to six-month process. It could come sooner but that is typical.

How have you been in the USA for so long and not have your Green Card just yet?

RAY BELTRAN: When I crossed the border I was illegal for nine years then I asked if I could apply for my Visa since I had been here for 12 years and I felt the weight was off my shoulders because I had my Visa. Before that it was a lot of risk for me because if I got pulled over and he’s not having a good day he could call immigration and I would be in big trouble.

STEVE FEDER: As it is now, once Ray stops fighting, he cannot get a work Visa and he cannot stay – he would be here illegally and we need to get this accomplished before it gets to that. He is hoping that he fights one more time this year then he gets a shot at the world title – he will be a US citizen. His P-1 visa allows him to fight in the U.S.

What if he loses? Does he need victory to stay here?

STEVE FEDER: At this point, because we want to get into the mandatory position with either Linares or Garcia or Flanagan, this is a crucial fight that we are up against right now. Once this fight is over with, we have to file. At that point, obviously he has no intentions of losing, so we don’t even put that in our mindset, so Ray would have proven enough that he is at that elite status and at that point we would feel OK. The reason we didn’t do it after New York was because we wanted to have more press coverage on our side, so we knew it was worth waiting for.

Do the big fights he has had not count for the status he needs?

STEVE FEDER: It counts, but it would be equivalent to an actor winning an Academy Award or an Olympian winning the Gold Medal. It takes so much that once you apply you do not want to get rejected. The idea that he was a top fighter, yes that helps. He fought Crawford and that was a unanimous decision and it was at the No. 2 position. He is in a better spot now than he ever has been.

When he fought Crawford he was the mandatory…

STEVE FEDER: Yes, but he has had four knockouts in a row going into Saturday’s fight and he has a good run. Right now, this was the best time to do it. Right now he has been sitting at this No. 2 spot and he keeps moving up the rankings – that’s what they want to see – to see him maintain it. Just being there in that position wouldn’t be enough – what he is doing now is better which is maintaining that position over a period of time. It’s about Ray’s body of work — his career. In essence it’s about continuity and sustained activity at an elite level — rather than one specific fight.

So a year at #2 is better than 3 months at #1


RAY BELTRAN: Thank you for taking the time to pay attention to the Ray Beltran life story. I hope that all of my fans are there for the fight and they tune in on ESPN and I want to thank ESPN and all of the people that are involved in this event and I can’t wait to put on a great show and to be back on ESPN as soon as possible again.

TODD duBOEF: If you can’t be at the fights we hope you tune in on Saturday and make a note to tune into ESPN all week to see the promos that they are going to be doing – see the bumpers and see the countdown clock, see the snippets and see the stuff they are going to be bringing you guys and the general fans creating awareness to the fight on Saturday.


Credit:  Photos by Chris Farina / Top Rank

Ray Beltran from Los Mochis, Mexico winds down training camp as he prepares to take on Takahiro Ao from Chiba, Japan in the main event, a 12-round bout for the vacant WBO Lightweight World Championship , Friday, May 1st. truTV and Top Rank will partner to exclusively televise a live Friday night primetime boxing series beginning Friday, May 1, at 10 p.m. ET. The new boxing series, in association with Turner Sports and HBO Sports, will launch on the eve of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view fight with a card featuring two title bouts inside The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

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Terence Crawford is THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight as well as the WBO’s titleholder in that division. Ray Beltran is THE RING’s No. 2-rated 135-pounder entering a fight whose winner will be crowned THE RING champion in his weight class.

A rugged 33-year-old, Beltran (29-6-1, 17 knockouts) is 4-0-1 in his past five fights, having declared Saturday’s bout against Crawford (24-0, 17 KOs) to be “my moment.”

In facing Beltran at the CenturyLink Arena in his native Omaha, Neb., Crawford is returning to the site where he scored four knockdowns on the way to June’s come-from-behind ninth-round stoppage victory over former featherweight beltholder Yuriorkis Gamboa, a previously unbeaten fighter.

Crawford defeated Gamboa before 10,943 of the former’s partisan fans following Crawford’s unanimous decision that dethroned Ricky Burns for the WBO belt on Burns’ turf in Glasgow, Scotland, in March.

Prior to facing Crawford, Burns had battled to a controversial draw with Beltran, who floored Burns in the eighth round in Glasgow in September 2013. Burns’ jaw was badly broken against Beltran, requiring the surgical implantation of titanium plates in advance of the loss to Crawford.

After scoring a one-sided unanimous decision over Arash Usmanee in April, Beltran set his sights on Crawford, Nebraska’s first titleholder since Perry “Kid” Graves won the vacant welterweight crown in 1914.

“I actually felt that Beltran won the fight with Burns but I’m not no judge, so my opinion doesn’t really matter. But in my opinion, I felt that he won the fight,” said Crawford, during an interview with

“But if he thinks that this belt belongs to him  – and he might feel that way  – then he’s going to have to come and get it and it ain’t gonna be easy because I ain’t gonna give it to him.”

Although Crawford ended Burns’ streak of five consecutive lightweight title defenses, followed by a triumphant effort against Gamboa, Beltran is ready to take what he believes should truly be his.

“Crawford has shown to be a talented fighter and is someone I respect,” said Beltran. “But I see this fight as an opportunity for me to achieve the recognition in the boxing world and the public’s eye. This is my moment.”

The results of the poll taken from 17 insiders regarding Crawford-Beltran are as follows.


Terence Crawford W 12 Ray Beltran: I’m actually more concerned about Terence Crawford making weight, so close to home on Thanksgiving weekend.

This will be a tale of two fights with Ray Beltran’s constant aggression creating several anxious moments. But I see Crawford finding a way to box to the finish and take a mildly disputed decision.

Record: 26-7 [Last pick: Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Chris Algieri]

Norm Frauenheim, THE RING magazine,

Terence Crawford UD 12 Ray Beltran: Terence Crawford could win at the ballot box in Omaha. He’ll win on the scorecards too. But it wasn’t be easy in a city known mostly for Warren Buffet until Crawford’s attention-getting victory over Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Ray Beltran is a classic gatekeeper. Think Orlando Salido. Beltran, Manny Pacquiao’s favorite sparring partner, has the skill and instinct of a survivor. Beltran’s not afraid of hostile crowds.

He’ll make Crawford work. He’ll also catch him with counters. In the end, however, he won’t overcome Crawford’s faster hands, quicker feet, superior power and emerging poise.

Record: 27-9 [Last pick: Pacquiao TKO 10 Algieri]

Jeffrey Freeman, www.KODigest.TV

Terence Crawford UD 12 Ray Beltran: Unless you’re from Omaha, it would be hard for you to root against either of these two classy lightweight competitors. Terence Crawford is “the next big thing” in Nebraska and for good reason. Crawford’s coming-out party against Yuriorkis Gamboa last June was the stuff dreams are made of as well as a very tough act to follow.

A good solid, professional effort is what fans can expect from the fusion of this pair in the ring. When it’s all said and done, Crawford should retain his WBO title with a competitive but complete unanimous decision. “Bud” Crawford is one of the best young stars in boxing and it will take something more dynamic than what Ray Beltran brings to the table to unseat the defending champion in his own backyard.

Record: 21-12 [Last pick: Pacquiao TKO 7 Algieri]

Tom Gray,

Terence Crawford UD 12 Ray Beltran: I’m really looking forward to this one and I think the styles will gel perfectly. I can envision a competitive contest for the first half before Terence Crawford makes the necessary adjustments and dominates down the stretch.

The Omaha native just has so many different looks, whether it be orthodox, southpaw, boxer, slugger, inside game or outside game. Ray Beltran is a class act but Crawford’s versatility will give him a nightmare.

Although I think the Mexican reaches the finish line, he might struggle mightily to get over it. “Bud”, for me, will be in the pound-for-pound ratings, sometime in 2015. He is a terrific fighter.

Record: 27-9 [Last pick: Pacquiao TKO 8 Algieri]

Andreas Hale,

Terence Crawford TKO 7 Ray Beltran: Terence Crawford’s progression has been frighteningly good to witness. Every performance has been better than his last and his dispatching of Yuriorkis Gamboa was evidence of that.

Ray Beltran is tough as nails but I expect Crawford to again go above and beyond and put together a stirring performance. Ultimately, Crawford’s speed and sound defense will spell the undoing of Beltran.

Beltran’s only chance is to get past Crawford’s jab and work on the inside. But I think Crawford controls the range too well and rips Beltan with combinations until the end mid-fight.

Record: 21-9 [Last pick: Wladimir Klitschko TKO 9 Kubrat Pulev]

Keith Idec, The Record/

Terence Crawford UD 12 Ray Beltran: The diverse Terence Crawford can beat you in so many ways, which will help him overcome Ray Beltran’s constant pressure. And if Beltran isn’t more careful defensively than usual, particularly in exchanges, Crawford could stop him.

Record: 14-6 [Last pick: Pacquiao KO 9 Algieri]

Edward “Revolver” Khabrov, guest/fan, Zaporozhye City, Ukraine

Terence Crawford W UD 12 Ray Beltran: This is an interesting fight with a predictable outcome, given that Terence Crawford is among the most talented young boxers today.

Crawford boasts impressive skills, fundamentals, very good hand speed, footwork and reflexes. During his ninth-round technical knockout over Yuriorkis Gamboa, Crawford demonstrated patience, a decent ring IQ as well as a great ability to make adjustments and to turn a fight in his favor.

Ray Beltran is a solid and hardworking veteran. Beltran will give this bout a last-chance effort and perhaps do better than most expect him to. In the end, I expect Crawford to make the necessary adjustments toward winning a tougher-than-expected unanimous decision victory.

Record: 3-2  [Klitschko UD 12 Pulev]

Rich Marotta, KFI Radio, Los Angeles

Terrence Crawford TKO 9 Ray Beltran: You’ve got to love Ray Beltran, his honest work ethic, his effort every fight, his backstory. However, it is hard to visualize a path to victory for him in this fight.

Terrence Crawford is a late-bloomer but he is, without question, blooming big-time. He has everything going for him, including what figures to be a maniacal crowd backing him.

Beltran will plod forward and try to do his damage, especially to the body. But he will be out-sped, out-punched and eventually overwhelmed by Crawford. Despite Beltran’s doggedness, he will be stopped late.

Record: 23-11 [Last pick: Pacquiao TKO 10 Algieri]

Diego Morilla, XN Sports

Terence Crawford W 12 Ray Beltran: I think the key here is work rate and Terence Crawford is far busier than Ray Beltran most of the time. Crawford’s accuracy and Beltran’s not-quite-there-yet defense make for a terrible combination too.

If Beltran can find a way to Crawford’s body enough to slow him down, which is not easy, then he’ll have a shot. But I don’t think it’ll happen. I see a workmanlike decision win for Crawford.

Record: 13-9 [Last pick: Pacquiao W 12 Algieri]

John J. Raspanti, Monthly Magazine

Terence Crawford W 12 Raymond Beltran: Terence Crawford defeated Ricky Burns earlier this year to win the WBO lightweight championship. Ray Beltran defeated Burns too in 2013 but didn’t get the decision due to some egregious scoring.

Crawford is a talented boxer-puncher. Beltran can punch but Crawford is younger and quicker. He also feeds off his hometown crowd. I think Crawford will win an entertaining 12-round decision over a very determined Beltran.

Record: 25-11 [Last pick: Pacquiao W 12 Algieri]

Cliff Rold,

Terence Crawford W 12 Ray Beltran: Ray Beltran has come into his own in recent years but Terence Crawford looks like an elite prizefighter. Look for Crawford to outbox a Beltran than make it fun.

Record: 23-12 [Last pick: Klitschko W 12 Pulev]

Joseph Santoliquito/THE RING Magazine/ Sports

Terence Crawford KO 10 Ray Beltran: Terence Crawford, I believe, has too much firepower for Ray Beltran, who last stopped someone three years ago.

Crawford’s star is rising and a shopworn veteran like the 33-year-old Beltran doesn’t seem like he’ll be able to get in the way. It’s a spirited fight with Crawford stopping Beltran, who last lost by TKO six years ago.

Record: 17-0 [Last pick: Pacquiao KO 10 Algieri]

John Scully, trainer

Terence Crawford KO Ray Beltran: I’ve got to go with a Terence Crawford by knockout over Ray Beltran. Crawford is on a roll. He knows where he’s at and what this is all going to eventually lead to. Crawford’s  going to get even better over the next few fights.

Record: 16-10 [Last pick: Pacquiao W 12 Algieri]

Bradley Starks, guest/fan, Novato, Calif.

Terence Crawford UD 12 Ray Beltran: This is kind of a mismatch but Ray Beltran deserves another shot at the title that should have been his after he fought Ricky Burns in 2013.

That being said, Terence Crawford’s talent is a level or two above the likable Mexican’s and he should be able to defeat Beltran by very comfortable unanimous decision.

Record: 14-3 [Last pick: Pacquiao KO 4 Algieri]

Dominic Verdin,

Terence Crawford W 12 Ray Beltran: Terence Crawford is on his way to becoming an elite fighter but before he can accomplished that, he has to defeat a man who will give his life in the ring.

Ray Beltran wants to become the legitimate lightweight champ. This will be a fight for the fans and I see Crawford taking a close but well-deserved decision.

Record: 24-8 [Last pick: Pacquiao TKO 11 Algieri]

Charles Villa, guest/fan, Portland, Ore.

Terence Crawford UD 12 Ray Beltran: Sports can often be unfair and none are more unfair than boxing. Ray Beltran has been a proverbial “fringe contender” based upon his record but his losses have been seasoned with almost outright robberies. A little over a year ago, Beltran traveled to Glasgow to break Ricky Burns’ jaw and was viewed as a clear victor by many except the judges.

Yet throughout it all, Beltran has fought the opponent in front of him with determination, deceptive skill and entertaining power-punching. Terence Crawford managed to go to Glasgow earlier this year and won a clear, 12-round victory that judges shockingly ruled correctly.

From there, he faced Yuriorkis Gamboa in a virtuoso performance that had Crawford struggling in the early rounds, adjusting his stance to southpaw and began to pick apart the Cuban legend en route to a ninth-round TKO. This is one of my most anticipated fights of the year, with both guys having a crowd-pleasing style via their willingness to engage.

As much fun as Beltran is to watch, I don’t believe he’s got enough tricks in the bag to dissuade Crawford in the pocket where Beltran does his best work. Look for Crawford to control the range on a come-forward Beltran, using his reach and skills to keep the fight on the outside.

Record: 17-10 [Last pick: Pacquiao TKO 8 Algieri]

Anson Wainwright,

Terence Crawford W 12 Ray Beltran: Terence Crawford looks to round out the year with a second successful defense in Omaha, Neb., while Ray Beltran looks to make good on winning a world title he believes he won on the road last September when he drew with Ricky Burns.

Though Beltran had hoped for a rematch against Burns, Crawford got the nod to face him instead and relieved Burns of the title. Beltran will come out fast and try to gain Crawford’s respect but I see Crawford using his speed and skills to counter Beltran on the way to a wide points win.

Record: 23-9 [Last pick: Pacquiao TKO 9 Algieri]

By a 17-0 shutout vote,  the insiders believe Terence Crawford will successfully defend his defend his WBO lightweight belt, also becoming the 135-pound division’s RING champion in victory.


The main event of the HBO Boxing telecast this Saturday evening is a 12-round lightweight world title showdown, featuring Terence Crawford against Ray Beltran. In the undercard, unbeaten featherweights Evgeny Gradovich and Jayson Velez square off in a 12-round title bout, and both fights are live from Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Right here, you can find the complete Crawford vs. Beltran weigh-in results and photos.

Crawford vs. Beltran Weights

  • Terence Crawford: 135 lbs.
  • Ray Beltran: 134.8 lbs.
  • Evgeny Gradovich : 126 lbs.
  • Jayson Velez: 126 lbs.






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By Karl Freitag
Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank

Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight world champion Terence “Bud” Crawford and #1 contender and mandatory challenger Ray Beltran faced off Wednesday at their final news conference before they fight for Crawford’s world title on Saturday night at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Also on hand was undefeated International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich, who defends his belt against unbeaten contender Jayson Velez.

Terence Crawford: Come Saturday I’m gonna be ready. I know Team Beltran are ready. They trained hard. They’re gonna bring 110%, 120%, that night they’re gonna bring it all. But it’s my job to bring 200% to make sure I keep my title and get that Ring belt. But it’s not all about that Ring belt, it’s about me being the best I can be and continuing to be successful in this game that I love to do…come Saturday I’m going to lay it all on the line like I do every other time.

Ray Beltran: I’m fighting Terence Crawford, a very difficult fighter, a good champion. I’m dedicating this fight to the 43 students that got executed in Mexico…I’m ready, thank God, for this great opportunity. I’m in great shape, I feel good, I’m ready, so motivated. I hope I give Omaha, all the people a good show Saturday night. I’m ready, I can’t wait!

Evgeny Gradovich: I hope it’ll be a good fight. Thanks to my team for a good training camp at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy.

Jayson Velez: I don’t have too much to say. This is a great fight. The “Mexican-Russian is a great fighter, but I’m Boriqua. This is gonna be a war. I’ve been training very hard. I know what Gradovich is capable of. You have two young, undefeated fighters who throw many punches. This is gonna be a great, great fight.

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Photos: Chris Farina / Top Rank –

WBO Lightweight champion Terence Crawford “the Pride of Omaha” and #1 contender and mandatory challenger Ray Beltran of Mexico worked out on Monday during “media day” in advance of their upcoming world title clash in Omaha, Nebraska.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Tecate, Crawford vs. Beltran will take place during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend on Saturday, November 29, at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha,NE. It will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark.

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OMAHA, NEB — Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight champion TERENCE “Bud” CRAWFORD, Omaha’s favorite son, will make an encore hometown title defense on the heels of his wildly successful victory over previously undefeated world champion and Cuban sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa.  Crawford will defend his title against No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger RAY BELTRAN on Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday, November 29, at the CenturyLink Center.  The fight will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Photos by Chris Farina/Top Rank.Crawford_Beltran_PC_140930_001a

Crawford successfully defended his title on June 28, at the CenturyLink Center, knocking out previously undefeated world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in front of an energized crowd. The fight, a candidate for Fight of the Year honors, was televised live on HBO®, and according to Nielsen Media Research, garnered an average audience of 1.208 million viewers to the live, first-time airing, making it the second most-watched fight of the year so far.  Crawford vs. Gamboa was the first world championship fight the city of Omaha had hosted in 42 years when Joe Frazier defended his World Heavyweight Championship crown against Ron Stander in 1972.



“It’s an honor to fight in my hometown during the holiday season in front of my fans and family who will be traveling to Omaha,” said Crawford.  “It’s great that Top Rank and HBO are coming back into town to promote another show on one of the biggest weekends of the year.  Beltran feels I have something – a world title belt – which belongs to him.  He thought he beat Ricky Burns and I thought Beltran won too.  But he didn’t and I did. Beltran can fight. We know that.  I am going to fight him like a bad dog, fight fire with fire. Let’s see if he really has a will to win in Omaha. My will to win is off the charts. He won’t be coming straight at me the way he did against Ricky Burns.  My team and I are training hard to put on a good show for everyone. No one will be disappointed.”


“Crawford has shown to be a talented fighter, someone I respect,” said Beltran.  “But I see this fight as an opportunity for me to achieve the recognition in the boxing world and the public’s eye.  This fight is Champion vs. Champion. It’s not about the belts. It’s about us.  Crawford is talented, has skill, but I have the ability to adapt and will be ready for what he brings.  The situation against Burns made me stronger, I felt the love of the crowd and all of their respect that night.  I feel blessed with my family and friends.  All of that will be with me when I fight Crawford in Omaha. I am the No.  2 fighter in the world. Crawford is No. 1. That is what this is all about.  I believe in me.  This is my moment.”

“This fight between Crawford and Beltran could very well be the fight of the year. The styles and skills of both fighters guarantee as much,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.

“When Terence Crawford fought in front of his Omaha hometown crowd last June, the atmosphere produced one of the most spectacular fights of 2014 on HBO,” said Peter Nelson, vice president, programming, HBO Sports.  “The spotlight returns to the American heartland November 29, as the undefeated champ faces Ray Beltran, a challenger who has earned more opportunities than he’s been given and always gives the fans his all.”

“CenturyLink Center Omaha is honored to have the opportunity once again to host this world championship boxing event,” said Roger Dixon, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority.  “The atmosphere was electric in June and we expect even more excitement this time around”

Crawford (24-0, 17 KOs), of Omaha, returns to the ring fresh from his dramatic and critically-acclaimed knockout victory of Gamboa.  Not only did Crawford retain his title, he also made himself a contender for Fighter of the Year.  He is only the second Nebraska native to be recognized as a boxing world champion.  Perry “Kid” Graves, from Rock Bluff, captured the welterweight crown, knocking out Johnny Alberts in Brooklyn, in 1914, according to the Omaha World-Herald.  After a short but impressive amateur career, which included victories over future world champions Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia and one-time world title challenger Diego Magdaleno, Crawford made his professional debut on March 14, 2008 – a first-round knockout victory of Brian Cummings.  On March 1, 2014 – just 13 days short of the sixth anniversary of his pro debut, Crawford captured the WBO lightweight title, dethroning defending champion Ricky Burns on Burns’ home turf of Glasgow, Scotland. Scoring a powerful and unanimous decision, Burns put the boxing world on notice that with his virtuoso performance.  Crawford pulled out all stops in dismantling Burns as he rocked the defending champion throughout the fight, while switching back and forth between orthodox and southpaw stances.

Beltran (29-6-1, 17 KOs), a native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, who now lives in North Hollywood, Calif.,  is one of the lightweight division’s toughest and most experienced fighters.  A former NABF and USBA lightweight champion,  Beltran enters this fight riding a two-year five-bout winning streak, which includes a disputed draw against defending WBO lightweight champion hometown favorite Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland last year.  In that fight, Beltran fractured Burns’ jaw in the first two rounds and dominated the fight, consistently landing the harder punches.  Beltran scored a knockdown in the eighth round and finished the fight strongly.  Ringside observers and television viewers alike screamed “home cooking!” when the fight was declared a draw.  Beyond his professional fight, Beltran has had the benefit of being a main sparring partner for Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao for several years before becoming a top-rated contender in his own right.  In his last fight, on April 12,  he claimed the NABO lightweight title, winning  a 12-round unanimous decision against once-beaten Arash Usmanee on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr world welterweight championship rematch.–82695


By Edward Chaykovsky –

According to manager Alex Morrison, WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns (36-2-1, 11KOs) will meet rival Ray Beltran (28-6-1, 17KOs) for a second time on a date in early February in Glasgow, Scotland. They first collided on September 7, where Burns was dropped in the eight and had his jaw badly broken. Burns went on to retain his title with a very controversial twelve round draw, which even the UK press disagreed with.

Alex Morrison told The Scotsman: “Eddie Hearn has reached an agreement with Beltran’s people for a rematch in Glasgow in February next year. Ricky made it clear from the moment the first fight between the two was over that he felt he owed Beltran a second chance and that speaks volumes for the type of man he is.

“After suffering the type of injury he did, many a fighter would be loath to go back in the ring, never mind face the same opponent again who had inflicted these injuries. But Ricky is the most honest man you will ever meet and he knows he must set the record straight in the second fight. Obviously, we had other options, but for Ricky the honourable thing to do was to give Beltran a second chance. He may have that, but I think this time Beltran will find out just how good Ricky is at his best.”–70968