After Raymundo Beltran scored a one-sided unanimous decision over Arash Usmanee in April, the lightweight contender had his sights on a shot this summer against unbeaten WBO titleholder Terence Crawford.
Although Beltran (29-6-1, 17 knockouts) will not get Crawford (24-0, 17 KOs) as soon as he desired, it appears that the opportunity will come, nonetheless, on Nov. 29, according to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
In facing Beltran, Crawford will return to the CenturyLink Center in his native Omaha, Neb., where he scored four knockdowns on the way to a come-from-behind ninth-round technical knockout victory over former featherweight beltholder Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-1, 16 KOs) before 10,943 of his partisan fans.
“The target date is Nov. 29, and I think that as enthusiastic as the crowd was the first time, I think that there will be even more excitement the second time for Terence,” said Arum of Crawford, who floored Gamboa once each in the fifth and eighth rounds and twice in the last.
“You have to remember that the first time, we were selling to people on the fight who hadn’t seen one ever before. I would say that a great majority of the people who attended the fight, that was the first fight show that they had ever seen.”
Crawford-Gamboa represented the first title fight in Omaha since heavyweight champion Joe Frazier beat Ron Stander by fifth round knockout in 1972, and Crawford is the state’s first titleholder since Perry “Kid” Graves from won the vacant welterweight crown in 1914.
“It’s going to be the Saturday after the Thanksgiving weekend, so that makes a lot of sense. So, now, the people there are more familiar with boxing, so it builds,” said Arum.
“If you give them good stuff, one thing builds on the other, so I think that they crowd will be even more enthusiastic, and we’ll open up more of the building.”
Crawford was coming off a unanimous decision that dethroned Ricky Burns as WBO beltholder on Burns’ turf in Glasgow, Scotland, in March. Against Usmanee, Beltran, rebounded from last September’s controversial draw with Burns, whom he floored in the eighth round in Glasgow.
Burns’ jaw was badly broken in the fight, requiring the surgical implantation of titanium plates in advance of his next defense against Crawford. Crawford ended Burns’ streak of eight consecutive title defenses.