Most fighters learn their craft in the amateurs and perfect it as professionals. Others like Chavez Jr and Canelo Alvarez take the route less travelled and learn on the job. Thirty two year old Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1,17KO’S), of on the job training variety perfected his craft by being a sparring partner of ring great, Manny Pacquiao. Pacman is currently preparing for the April 12th rematch with Tim Bradley.
“They don’t need me right now because of styles,” said Beltran when I asked him about working with Pacquiao:” May be they will call me later. Anyways, right now we focus on my fight. If they call me it would be great. Even if I fight with Manny, southpaw, still it is top level to get me ready.”
Beltran’s next fight could be the most important one of his professional career. He is to challenge former super featherweight champion from Puerto Rico, Roman Martinez (27-2-2,16KO’S) for vacant WBO lightweight crown. “April 12th in Vegas,” exclaimed Beltran:” On Manny Pacquiao and Bradley undercard.” Twelve rounds contest will be televised live by HBO PPV from MGM’s Grand Garden Arena.
This will be Beltran’s third bid for a title. Considering his age it might be his last. He failed his first attempt at vacant WBO belt in May of 2011 to Sharif Bogere via unanimous but controversial decision. Ray’s second attempt took him to Scotland where he fought a local champ Ricky Burns in September of 2013. It ended in a controversial split decision draw.
“Its politics,” explained Beltran:”You know how it is. You know the business. To me what really matters is that everybody saw the fight, everybody saw that I won. It was a good performance by me.” Despite a good performance the much coveted belt eluded rugged warrior from Sinaloa, Mexico. What can he do to ensure success in his third attempt?
“I have to work harder to do better,” continued Beltran:”I am happy right now because I have another fight. So I am positive. I leave the past in the past and I move on. The plan is to finish earlier than what it’s scheduled for, but at the same time be smart and don’t be too crazy.”
Raymundo Beltran is no longer just a sparring partner. When I caught up to him last Friday at the Wildcard West in Santa Monica he was getting his hands wrapped for a spirited sparring session with former champion Stevie Forbes. And he had his own fans there like HBO’s “ Ray Donovan’s” Live Schreiber, who is also a voice behind acclaimed HBO documentary “ 24/7”
“ We do the sparring session hard,” said Beltran:” They demand a lot from me. We have nothing but first class sparring.” In fact the kind of sparring Raymundo Beltran gets these days would be the envy for most fighters around the world.” I’ve been sparring with Vicente Escobedo. He helped me last week,” continued Beltran:” Steve Forbes, great sparring. We get real champions, real contenders.”
Raymundo Beltran evolved into a highly rated contender, well known for his physicality, conditioning and getting stronger in the later rounds. “ I got the best strength and conditioning coach in Rob Garcia,” explained Beltran: ”He trained Oscar De La Hoya for eight years. He is in charge of keeping me in great shape.” Judging by the intensity of the sparring session Rob Garcia is doing a great job with Raymundo whose three beautiful kids and a wife were also on hand to observe the training. “ That’s the reason why I fight, my kids,” said Beltran:” My motivation is them. I do my best and I train really hard to put on a good show.” His April 12th showdown with Roman Martinez might just still the show.