by Tamas Pradarics
This past Friday boxing fans at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada and in front of television sets were able to witness a vivid 12-round lightweight championship fight between two willing contenders.
Ray Beltran and Paulus Moses are in the last stages of their respected careers but that does not stop them to give their all in a bloody encounter saw both participants rocked at least once.
After twelve exciting rounds, the judges scored it in favor of Beltran who captured his first world title in the form of the vacant WBO 135-pound belt. The scores were 116-112 and 117-111 twice for the 36-year-old Phoenix-native pugilist.
Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KO, 1 ND) started better and controlled the first two rounds. Moses (40-4, 25 KO, 1 ND) found his rhythm and powerful right-hand punches in the third frame. From that point on up until the championship rounds, it was a pick-them fight.
The performance of Moses, who last fought against a top opponent in 2012 when he traveled to Scotland to face Ricky Burns for the same WBO title he challenged against Beltran, was far better than the vast majority of boxing fans around the world expected from the 39-year-old Namibian fighter. Moses was a 20-to-1 underdog leading up to the bout.
“I am very satisfied with his performance, a true world-class performance to give the fans just what they needed. I know everybody thought it was going to be a knockout [for Beltran] in a maximum of three rounds, but we knew that we prepared well and went in there to win. Moses is an experienced fighter, he can read a fight and he was certainly not afraid of Beltran. Moses stuck to our fight strategy and he did pretty well,” manager of Moses, Nestor Tobias said to BoxingScene.com.
The Namibian businessman, who was also taking the role of the trainer in Moses’s corner during the get-go, however, is far less satisfied with the scorecards of the judges.
“I have no idea which fight they were watching and what their intentions were, but there is no use complaining about the judges’ scores now, what is done is done and the WBO need to deal with judges who come out to embarrass good fighters like Moses.”
The Windhoek-based boxer shares the view of his boss about the scores, but he also stated he can live on with the fact he received the shorter end of the stick.
“You know the judges will always remember the last rounds which do not make sense because the rounds are scored round by round, but I am not one to complain about judges. I think I did enough to win the fight or at least [get] a draw but if they saw it different I will respect their decision,” said Moses.
“I am not afraid to fight anybody in the lightweight division, but I would love [to get] a rematch with Ray [though] I doubt that will ever happen. I would also love to get another big fight, and this time I will just finish it off and take it out of the judges’ hands.”
Even if there was no option for a rematch against Beltran, based on the fact that the new WBO world champion is a leading candidate to get a shot at P4P shortlisted Vasyl Lomachenko in May, the better-than-expected performance can easily push into the direction of a second appearance on mainstream television cards in the USA for the Namibian fighter.