By Jake Donovan
For a fighter who’s lost four of his last six contests, Jerry Belmontes is certainly loving life right now.
The lightweight contender is actually coming off one of the best performances of his career, even if the record books don’t properly reflect it. His first major title fight came this past April, pushing Omar Figueroa to the brink before coming up on the wrong end of a disputed split decision in their Showtime-televised bout.
As a consolation prize, Belmontes headlines a Fox Sports 1-televised card live from his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. The opportunity comes on August 7 when he faces Abner Cotto in a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout. It’s a credible enough fight to where the 25-year old boxer knows not to look too far beyond fight night, yet he can’t help but feel something will be missing when he next enters the ring.
“I feel that I’m the WBC champion right now,” Belmontes (19-4, 5KOs) believes. “Back in the day I wasn’t taking boxing seriously. But now I beat an undefeated guy in Will Tomlinson, and I beat Omar but they didn’t’ give it to me.
“I was very disappointed that I didn’t get the win. It felt good to do it on national TV. Everyone saw what happened, but I have to live with the result and prove that I’m the best.”
The loss to Figueroa came less than two months after scoring a major upset over Tomlinson, unbeaten at the time and whom was being groomed by Golden Boy Promotions as its next big star. Belmontes ruined those plans in scoring a wide unanimous decision win in their March fight, coming on the undercard of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’ stoppage win over Alfredo Angulo in Las Vegas.
seven weeks later, Belmontes was in California for his first ever title fight,
despite both he and Figueroa hailing from the Lone Star State. Coming that close
to claiming the crown is a taste he’s not yet ready to wash away, serving as
motivation for a planned strong showing versus Cotto (17-2, 8KOs).
With a win on August 7, Belmontes has every intention of revisiting old business and emphatically proving who is the best lightweight not just in Texas, but in the world.
“I would love to fight (Figueroa) in Texas,” Belmontes insists. “I’d fight him in his (Westlaco) hometown. Right now my mind is on Abner Cotto, but after that I’m ready for whoever wants it.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America . Twitter: @JakeNDaBox