By Steve Kim
More than the WBO lightweight title is on the line when Ray Beltran makes the first defense of that belt against Jose Pedraza from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, California.
The winner of the bout is already lined up for a unification with two-time Olympic gold medal winner Vasyl Lomachenko, according to Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, who promotes all three of the involved fighters. Arum's company is promoting this weekend's bout which will be televised on ESPN.
"The winner of that fight has signed to fight (Vasyl) Lomachenko - they have both signed," said Arum to BoxingScene.com.
Lomachenko is the WBA 135-pound champion and is nursing a torn right labrum that he suffered during his May 12th victory, when he stopped Jorge Linares at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The victory over Linares made Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) a three division world champion in only twelve professional fights. Now he wants to unify the lightweight division. Mikey Garcia holds the two remaining belts, the WBC and IBF, but there is talk of him going to 147 to challenge Errol Spence in early 2019.
The date for Lomachenko to face the winner of Saturday's fight would fall on December 1st at the Forum in Los Angeles.
Beltran-Pedraza is thought of as an even fight, and Arum views it as a very tough contest for both fighters.
"It's a tough fight, it's a main event on ESPN for a world title. Of course it's going to be tough," said Arum, who's company is working to fill out the rest of their dates for 2018.
"It's no secret we have eight dates from the beginning of September to the beginning of the year, two dates a month an we're filling them with tremendous attractions," said Arum, alluding to the likes of WBO welterweight titlist, Terence Crawford, who is scheduled to return on October 13th.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.