Considering his recent string of luck with the judges, it seemed unfathomable that Raymundo Beltran could be given a decision over the “A-side” on television.
However, the hard-luck fringe contender rolled a seven Friday night at the Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
Beltran (26-6, 17 knockouts) earned a majority decision over the RING’s No. 8-rated lightweight, Hank Lundy, in the main event of this week’s ESPN2 Friday Night Fights offering.
In recent outings, the 31-year-old veteran had dropped debatable decisions to Sharif Bogere and Luis Ramos Jr., so when the close fight went to the scorecards, it was tough to believe that his hand would be raised instead of Lundy’s. However, the judges saw it 95-95 and 96-94 (twice) in his favor.
It’s the equivalent of snake eyes for Lundy, as he was already being mentioned as a possible opponent for Adrien Broner upon his move to 135 pounds. However, similar to Broner last week against Vincente Escobedo, Lundy had his struggles on the scale, finally making weight for Friday’s bout on the fourth attempt.
Those hours in the sauna on Thursday morning might have left Lundy dry and flat at the opening bell, as Beltran racked up an early lead.
Beltran looked like he might have an opportunity to finish Lundy at the end of the third round. He had Lundy with his back to the ropes, and was unleashing combinations to the body, before stunning him with a sweeping left hook right at the bell, while eating a left hook of his own for good measure.
Early on, Lundy (22-2-1, 11 KOs) repeatedly got himself into trouble, backing into the ropes in the same fashion that had him in peril against John Molina and David Diaz in prior outings. Not looking to see a repeat of his own recent shortcomings, Beltran took advantage, throwing hard combinations at his squared up target.
Lundy, 28, Philadelphia, Penn., settled down in the sixth and briefly switched southpaw, keeping the action in the middle of the ring where he could utilize his hand and foot speed advantage. Nonetheless, there was never a time when one felt he was in total control of the pace of the fight.
In the past, Beltran has been accused of “behaving like a sparring partner,” due to all his time spent as Manny Pacquiao’s chief partner. This time though, the veteran didn’t allow his opponent to get comfortable, and continued to make Lundy move backwards. The simple aggression and proximity he kept to Lundy allowed him to at least make an argument for most of the rounds.
It wasn’t magic eight for Lundy, who suffers his second professional loss in his eighth appearance on ESPN2. While the bout against Broner may now be a massive longshot, he gave another exciting television performance and certainly won’t be a tough sell for promoter Jimmy Burchfield when it comes time to find him another broadcast slot.
For Beltran, 31, of Los Mochis, Mexico, the win is surely vindication and verification that he is indeed better than what his record and the scorecards have read all this time.
In the broadcast opener, Farah Ennis scored a unanimous decision victory over Richard Pierson in super middleweight action. Scores were 99-91 and 98-92 twice.
When Pierson moved his hands and fought positively, it was a compelling bout. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen very often.
For all but fleeting moments during the fight, Ennis stuck his jab in Pierson’s face, then rolled his shoulder and walked his way inside, where he landed combinations punctuated by body shots regularly.
In the fourth, Ennis (20-1, 12 KOs) started to open up and land a hard right hand counter that appeared to buzz Pierson for the first time.
Pierson (11-3, 8 KOs) had his best spurt soon after, early in the fifth round, as he stormed out of his corner and backed Ennis up. The New Jersey native landed a hard overhand right, sending Ennis into the ropes, however referee Steve Smoger decided not to rule the incident a technical knockdown.
Despite the success, Pierson took his foot off the pedal for the remaining five rounds, allowing Ennis to land with more regularity and create substantial swelling underneath his left eye.
Ennis should be commended for not getting reckless against a passive opponent. The Philadelphia product remained busy, but didn’t overextend, staying patient despite a reputation for getting himself into brawls.