Anyone who knows Ray Beltran’s story has to be happy for him.
Beltran was born into extreme poverty in Los Mochis, Mexico, sometimes surviving by scrounging through trash cans, before he and his family crossed the northern border illegally to start a new life in the United States when he was 15.
He became a solid fighter, good enough to become one of Manny Pacquiao’s most-trusted – and toughest – sparring partners for the past seven-plus years.
That seemed to be his niche, his own career marked mostly by frustration. He earned a shot at a minor title in 2008, nine years after he turned pro, but was stopped in four rounds by Ameth Diaz. He landed an important fight against hot prospect Sharif Bogere last year but lost a disputed decision. Two fights later, in December, he lost a close decision to prospect Luis Ramos.
Well, turns out there’s a happy twist to the story: Beltran, valued because he always comes to fight, earned one more shot at a big-name opponent and this time walked away with a big smile on his face.
Beltran (26-6, 17 knockouts) stunned Hany Lundy (rated No. 8 last week) and many in the boxing world by winning a hard-fought majority decision in 10-round lightweight fight Friday night in Atlantic City, N.J., easily his biggest victory.
As a result, Lundy (22-2-1, 11 KOs) drops out of the Top 10 and Beltran — the 34-year-old hard-luck sparring partner – enters the 135-pound ratings at No. 10.
And, obviously, the story isn’t over. The victory over Lundy will lead to another big fight. And who knows? Perhaps one day he’ll fight for a major world title. Could he win it? Could a once-desperate teenager become a world champion?
Beltran has already proved that perseverance can pay off in a big way.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Welterweight: Robert Guerrero defeated then-unbeaten Selcuk Aydin (No. 10 last week) by a clear unanimous decision in his first fight at 147 pounds Saturday in San Jose, Calif.
As a result, Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs) takes the place of Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) in the ratings, entering at No. 10.
Lightweight: The decision to have Beltran enter the ratings wasn’t a slam dunk.
After all, Ramos (22-0, 9 KOs) is unbeaten and defeated Beltran only seven months ago. The Editorial Board decided to go with Beltran because he beat a rated fighter – something Ramos hasn’t done – and many believe he deserved the decision against Bogere, who also is rated.
Flyweight: Edgar Sosa (No. 10 last week) changes places with Luis Concepcion (No. 9 last week) after stopping unrated Shigetaka Ikehara in eight rounds Saturday in Mexico.
Junior flyweight: Luis Ceja (No. 9 last week) drops out after losing a decision to unrated Ivan Meneses on Saturday in Mexico. He was replaced by Peruvian Alberto Rossel, who enters at No. 10.
Rossel (28-8, 13 KOs) is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over Jose Alfredo Rodriguez for the interim WBA junior flyweight title in April and is scheduled to defend against Karluis Diaz on Aug. 18.
Rated fighters in action this coming weekend (with current ratings)
Super middleweight: Thomas Oosthuizen (No. 4) vs. Rowland Bryant (Thursday)
Junior lightweight: Diego Magdaleno (No. 5) vs. Antonio Davis (Saturday)
Junior flyweight: Johnriel Casimero (No. 8) vs. Pedro Guevara (Saturday)