Pride and another win to his record are the only things Ray Beltran is fighting for tonight against Richard Commey.
Beltran will not be eligible to win the IBF world title when he squares off against titleholder Richard Commey at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. The fight will follow the junior middleweight clash between Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic and Patrick Day of Freeport, New York.
Both fights will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
At Thursday’s weigh-in, Commey weighed in at 134.4 pounds. Beltran came in 1.8 pounds above the 135-pound limit. Beltran had a two-hour window to drop the weight, but was able to shed of the weight.
Beltran reportedly will forfeit 10 percent of his $200,000 purse, or $20,000, to Commey. According to the IBF rules, Commey will retain the world title, win or lose, and Beltran must not weigh above the same-day weight of 145 pounds of Friday morning.
Lou DiBella, Commey’s promoter, struck a deal with Top Rank promoter that Beltran cannot weigh more than 146.8 pounds, 10 pounds more than what he weighed at Thursday’s weigh-in.
Beltran (36-8-1 1 ND, 22 knockouts), who is originally from the boxing hotbed of Los Mochis, Mexico and now resides in the Phoenix suburb of Avondale, might have had difficulty dropping weight from his last bout on Feb. 10, when he knocked out Hiroki Okada in the ninth round. The 38-year-old Beltran weighed in at 140 pounds for that fight, moving up from lightweight after losing his WBO title to Jose Pedraza on Aug. 25.
Beltran told The Ring in an earlier interview he wanted to stay at 140 pounds, but would move down to lightweight if a world title shot was presented. The Commey fight was presented and according to a source, Beltran was on track to make weight three weeks out.
Then came the weigh-in on Thursday.
Beltran may not be eligible to win a world title belt, but he will hope to save face tonight against Commey. He does have the experience and has faced the stronger opposition between the two fighters, but one wonder how much wear-and-tear he has accumulated since making his pro debut 20 years ago next month.
Despite what naysayers and critics have said of Beltran throughout his career, including missing weight Thursday and testing positive for a banned substance in his May of 2015 bout against Takahiro Ao, Beltran counts on his upbringing and focus on the task at hand.
“I don’t want to prove nobody nothing,” said Beltran earlier this week. “I want to prove to myself that it’s about what I can do. I’ve been doubted most of my career, and it doesn’t matter how much I do or what I accomplish. It’s never enough, so I’m not worried about it.”
Beltran has been counted out several times in recent years, but has found a way to extend his career. As his career is in its twilight stage, there are those who wonder what would be Beltran’s last fight.
Back in January of 2012, Beltran lost by unanimous decision to Luis Ramos in a fight many at ringside thought he did enough to win. Two and a half years later, Beltran was the underdog when he fought to a draw against Ricky Burns in a fight many thought he won running away.
After the back-to-back fights against Terence Crawford in November of 2014 and the Ao fight, Ramos reeled off six victories in a row before the loss to Pedraza.
Beltran may again be the underdog against Commey, and it may be his last significant fight as a pro, but Beltran, like in all his recent fights, will rely on his experience and personal life to lead him to victory.
“I feel like I made it the hard way,” said Beltran, who is managed by Steven Feder. “Even when the sport or the boxing world didn’t believe in me, that’s when I had to believe in myself. I think that’s why I am here. I’ve been counted out. People doubted me. I think 10 years ago, boxing experts and matchmakers didn’t even think I was a top-10 fighter. Nobody gave me an opportunity. I had to go and take it. Here we are. I became a world champion, and I am fighting for another world title. It’s not about if people believe in you. You must believe in yourself.”
“I came from a really rough childhood. There was no hope. I was never satisfied with what life put in front of me. The saying, ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ I say, ‘F–k that!’ I don’t want to get lemons. I want to get what I want from life. That’s my mentality.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing
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