by David P. Greisman
Justice for Ray Beltran will have to wait. His next opportunity will not.
Beltran came up short in a title shot this past September against lightweight Ricky Burns. Their fight ended as a split draw in a bout that many observers felt should’ve ended with Beltran’s hands raised in the air.
He won’t be getting an immediate rematch, though. Burns, in his first bout back since suffering a broken jaw against Beltran, will face off against his mandatory challenger, Terence Crawford. Burns-Crawford is scheduled to take place March 1 at the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow and will be broadcast in the United States on AWE (formerly WealthTV).
Beltran, meanwhile, will still be back on a big show. He fights April 12 on the pay-per-view undercard to the rematch between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao.
Beltran, 32, is 28-6-1 with 17 KOs. He will face Roman “Rocky” Martinez, who is 27-2-2 (16 KOs) and is coming up in weight after getting stopped in eight rounds by Mikey Garcia last November.
Beltran spoke with BoxingScene.com on Feb. 3 about his bout with Martinez, as well as about Burns-Crawford.
BoxingScene.com: Your bout against Roman Martinez will be on the undercard to the Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao rematch pay-per-view. How do you feel about fighting on such a big show?
Beltran: “I’m excited, you know. I’m excited to be on a big card. It’s a big opportunity, you know. I can’t wait to be on the show.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you think about Rocky Martinez?
Beltran: “I respect Rocky Martinez like I do all my opponents. He’s a former champion, so there’s a danger there. So I train hard for him like I train for all my fights, and I’m excited. I think he’s the right style for me, you know?”
BoxingScene.com: What did you think of Martinez’s loss to Mikey Garcia a few months back?
Beltran: “I kind of knew, because of styles and timing, that Mikey was going to stop him, and he did. It’s just styles, you know?”
BoxingScene.com: What did Martinez’s loss to Garcia show you as to where Martinez is as a fighter right now? Do you think that it means that he might be on the decline, or that he needed to leave 130 behind?
Beltran: “Even before the fight, before he fought Garcia, I just thought about the styles. I think about the way he fights. He’s a guy with a lot of heart, you know what I mean? I don’t see really that much power in him, but he is strong, you know? You’ve got to be strong to be able to fight at that level. Garcia was better. As a consequence, you fight a guy who’s more talented than you, that is what’s going to happen. So it’s not about whether he needed to leave 130 pounds or not. It wasn’t that he wasn’t ready, or this and that. It was just about the talent.”
BoxingScene.com: Let’s move on to a fight that I’m sure you’re keeping an eye on, and that’s the March 1 bout between Ricky Burns and Terence Crawford. Who do you think wins that bout?
Beltran: “The fans.”
BoxingScene.com: Beyond them?
Beltran: “Beyond them, I think it all depends on how Ricky Burns fights. If Ricky boxes, that's the best shot Ricky has to win. Go the distance and get the decision. If Ricky tries to fight, Crawford is going to f*** him up.”
BoxingScene.com: I know Burns had said he wanted to fight you in the rematch, but then the WBO ordered he face Crawford for his mandatory defense. How do you feel about not getting the Burns fight next but nevertheless getting a major appearance in April?
Beltran: “Right now I have a good fight for me on a big show, so it doesn’t bother me. As long as I’ve got a good fight on a good show, I’m happy right now. Right now I’m thinking about Rocky Martinez. I’m not thinking about Crawford or Burns or nobody else. I’m focused on Rocky Martinez, and we’ll see what happens next.”
BoxingScene.com: I know you said you’re only focused on Martinez, but would you rather face Burns in a rematch or face Crawford after this?
Beltran: “Rocky Martinez right now. That’s it. My mind is on that right now. After that, then I’ll think about it. Honestly, I’m not thinking of waiting for nobody in the lightweight division. I can’t focus on anybody else right now. I’m just focused on Rocky Martinez. I got to beat this guy first, and then we’ll see what happen next. I’m focused on him. I’m not overlooking him. Every fighter is dangerous in the ring. One punch can change everything. So right now I’m focused on this guy, and I don’t care about nobody else right now.”
BoxingScene.com: Anything else you want people to know?
Beltran: “All I can say is that I’m very motivated. I’m very grateful for my fans’ support. I can’t wait to be in the ring and put on a good show. I’ll do my best to make the fans proud.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]