By Francisco Salazar
Ray Beltran has and will always be a fighter. Not because he gets paid to fight inside a ring, but because of the politics of the sport he has had to deal with.
He even had to do it in his professional debut, which was three weeks shy of his 18th birthday, against a fighter with an 8-4 record.
Those are not good odds, but Beltran beat Victor Manuel Mendoza by unanimous decision.
Beltran knew early on about the politics in the boxing game. Maybe it prevented him from getting a world title fight, while others more undeserving than him fought for championship belts.
Through all of the ups and downs, Beltran never publicly complained. He always went about his business at a gym as a professional, waiting for a phone call to be notified as to when he would fight again.
However, Beltran is finally reaping the reward of something he has invested so many years. And he is eager to make the most of it.
Beltran will finally get the opportunity he had been waiting for after all of these years when he fights Ricky Burns this Saturday for the WBO lightweight title at the Scottish Exhibition Center in Glasgow, Scotland.
The bout will be televised live on WealthTV.
Because of what Beltran has gone through, you cannot help but pull for Beltran. You get the impression the soft-spoken Beltran just wants goes on about with his work and goes home to his wife and children.
People even shared or understood the disappointment Beltran had after two controversial losses to Sharif Bogere and Luis Ramos, Jr. within the last couple of years.
Some fighters may give up after disappointing setbacks, but that is not in Beltran, especially when dealing with personal problems out of the ring.
But he stuck with it. After beating Hank Lundy last July in a fight few gave a chance to win, Beltran has won twice more, including a 10 round unanimous decision over Alejandro Rodriguez in his last fight on April 27th.
With his three-fight winning streak in tow, Beltran (28-6, 17 KOs) cannot wait to get in the ring on Saturday, anxious that a win would give his career added vindication after periods of not fighting and controversial losses on his record.
“This is my time,” Beltran told Boxingscene.com earlier this week over the phone. “I’m ready and excited. I can’t wait for Saturday and I’m anxious to get in there give it everything.”
“I finally get the opportunity after having struggled economically and the personal problems we’ve been through. All I’ve wanted was to make money for my family. It’s been a struggle, but we’re here. No one gave me anything. I’ve had to work for it.”
Burns is a good fighter that presents as a formidable foe to Beltran, having won his last 21 fights in a row. Some boxing analysts think Beltran will have to take matters into his own hands and stop Burns.
However, the native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico is not getting caught up in what his opponent will do or things that he cannot control.
“We’ll see how everything will fall in place the night of the fight,” said Beltran, who is managed by Steven Feder and now promoted by Top Rank. I know that they will be cheering for him, but I can’t get caught up in that. All I know is there is a lot of motivation in my part to win. It’s the most motivation I’ve ever felt before a fight.”
With the ups and downs Beltran has faced in his career, one would think Beltran would focus more on things that do not involve boxing. Then again, that would go against what he has been known to be in boxing, especially when trying to set a good example to his children.
He beams with pride of raising his children and providing for them.
While it has been a dream come true for Beltran to fight for a world title, he also believes giving his family a comfortable life is another goal that he has achieved.
“My kids and family mean everything to me, so I do this for them.”
He may do “this” for them, but the motivation of fighting for a world title and winning it may go beyond family. With the lightweight division being very thin, Beltran understands that winning a world title against Burns could put him in a lucrative position to fight other lightweight titleholders like Miguel Vazquez and Richar Abril.
In a way, that would be the greatest reward for Beltran, considering what he has gone through in his life, in and out of the ring. A win against Burns on Saturday could be the beginning of good things to come.
“I believe that the United States is ready for me to win a world title. I know that people are rooting for me to it and I want to do this for them. I believe I have the psychological and physical strength to do it.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since last September and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper and Knockout Nation. He could be reached by email at email@example.com or on twitter at FSalazarBoxing Tags: Ricky Burns , Raymundo Beltran , Burns-Beltran , Burns vs Beltran