Beltran-Ao: Staff Predictions

By Jake Donovan

The second of three consecutive televised shows in Las Vegas takes us to The Cosmopolitan, where Raymundo Beltran and Takahiro Ao clash in a 12-round bout Friday evening.

The bout kicks off a new series on truTV, with Top Rank serving as the main provider of content. Friday’s edition was supposed to serve as the centerpiece but already comes in with a slight amount of taint after Beltran failed to meet the contracted lightweight limit. 

As a result, the vacant lightweight belt for which the bout was to be contested will now only be at stake for Ao (27-3, 12KOs), a former titlist at featherweight and junior lightweight who fights in the United States—and outside of Japan—for just the second time in his 11-plus year career. 

The visiting 31-year old southpaw comes in riding a four-fight win streak since conceding his 130 lb. crown in a major upset loss to Gamaliel Diaz at home in Oct. ’12. The current win streak began with a 2nd round knockout of Harry Paredes in his stateside debut two years ago. 

His most recent win came last October, soundly outpointing fellow former 130 lb. titlist Juan Carlos Salgado.

Beltran (29-7-1, 17KOs) has long served as one of the hard-luck fighters in the sport. Controversial decision losses to then-unbeaten prospects Sharif Bogere and Luis Ramos saw his cult status raised to where he serves as this generation’s Glen Johnson. His following only grew after being robbed of a lightweight title in a 12-round draw versus Ricky Burns in their Sept. ’13 battle on the road in Glasgow, Scotland.

A clean decision win over Arash Usmanee extended his unbeaten streak to five straight before running into Terence Crawford, dropping a decisive decision last November in their vacant World lightweight championship contest. 

Any designs on claiming a long-elusive alphabet title will have to wait at least one more fight. In missing weight during Thursday’s weigh-in, only bragging rights are at stake for Beltran in Friday’s must-win affair. 

Read on to see how the staff at believes tonight’s lightweight action plays out.


Ryan Burton (Beltran SD): I think Beltran and Ao will engage in a fan friendly war where a draw may be seen as fair but the snake bitten Beltran will finally get the nod on the scorecards.

Jake Donovan (Beltran Dec.): As with most fighters at this stage of their career, Ao moved up in weight both out necessity and belief that it’s his best shot at another title. Sound logic, but he’s on the wrong side of his prime. Beltran missing weight was a disappointment, but should be strong enough to belt out a well-deserved decision. How it’s scored—given his track record—is another story, but doubtful he gets robbed here.

Takahiro Onaga (Beltran SD): Ao start well but lose down stretch in close bout.

Cliff Rold (Beltran KO): Ao is on the downside and Beltran is in with someone much easier, and smaller, than Crawford. It should have some fun spots.

Victor Salazar (Beltran late KO): Ray Beltran will fight and finally earn his much evaded world title as he will beat Ao by late stoppage.

Alexey Sukachev (Beltran UD): Ao (a two-time two-division champion) is of a higher class than Beltran, but fighting in his homeland with a sense of his quite possibly the last chance of glory will allow Ray to prevail in a very close and hotly contested match-up.


Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by GoldenGloveLove on 05-01-2015

Beltran will get to him I think. Get that pressure on him. Get the better of a tough one.

Comment by knockoutkid on 05-01-2015

Ao sucks , its just whether he gets stopped or not

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (2)
Top Headlines Angel Acosta Training Hard With Roach, Focused on Lopez Breazeale: Wilder Loves To Hear His Own Voice, He's a Circus Act Hopkins, Wright, Marquez Enter Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Photos: Danny Garcia, Adrian Granados - Face To Face in LA Wilder: I'm With Same People That Got Floyd Where He Went Danny Garcia: Granados' Ass Is Grass, I'm The Lawnmower! Wilder, Fury Among Six Boxers on ESPN World Fame 100 List Deontay Wilder: I Hold The Keys To The Heavyweight Division Patrick Mukala Inks Pact With Banner Promotions Photos: Deontay Wilder, Dominic Breazeale - Tense Face To Face Joe Joyce is Now The EBU Mandatory To Agit Kabayel News: Blair Cobbs, Kalvin Henderson, David Brophy, More Breazeale Expects To Land "The Big Shot" on Wilder's Chin Artur Beterbiev vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic Official For May 4 Deontay Wilder: This is Personal, I Want To Destroy Breazeale Wilder vs. Breazeale, May 18th at Barclays on Showtime Martin Saldana Stops Joan Jose Valenzuela in Three Rounds Josh Warrington Aims To Punish Kid Galahad For Trash Talk Hearn on U.S. Market: Feels Like We're Getting Great Momentum Garcia Would 'Love' Lomachenko; Not Sure About 135 Return Spence: Garcia Could've Caught Me Off Guard If Not So Arrogant Carl Frampton Willing To Go Straight To Oscar Valdez Fight Okolie: Joshua Will Bust Up Miller, Stop Him in Mid-Rounds Sakaria Lukas Targets Joseph Diaz, Confident of Knockout Win Robert Garcia: I'd Want Mikey at 140, But There Are Fights at 147 Pacquiao Not Intimidated: Spence Doesn't Really Hit That Hard! Luis Nery: I Want To Win Back My Title, Unify The Division Pacquiao flush with options, but still wants Mayweather rematch Arum: Pacquiao Should Face Porter or Garcia, Spence is Too Much Gassiev Plans To Decide on Weight in April, Will Speak With DAZN Jarrell Miller: I'm More Intelligent Than Joshua, I'm a Warrior Andres Cortes, Jahmal Dyer Working Hard For ShoBox Clash Lucian Bute Expected To Announce Retirement From Boxing Arum: Unlike Mikey Garcia, Amir Khan Intends To Win His Fight! Artur Beterbiev, GYM Reach Agreement To End Contract, Lawsuits Wilder Manager: Too Much at Stake, These Fights Will Happen Kevin Lerena Ring Return Being Targeted For June Date CompuBox: Spence Now #1 in Power Connects, #2 in Jabs Thrown Charlie Edwards Says Kal Yafai is Still Very Much on His Radar Brook: I Was Beating Spence, But My Eye Went - At 100% I'd Win!

Latest Active Forum Threads