— Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank
Lost in the Pacquiao-Algieri and now holiday week shuffle is the Terence Crawford-Ray Beltran bout which will unfold in Omaha, and on HBO, this Saturday night.
I spoke to Carl Moretti, an exec for the promoter of the scrap and the card, Top Rank. The man is a grinder, as are so many folks who work for TR, the top entity in that sphere. He’s barely stretched his muscles from the trek back from Macau, and he’ll gobble bird and re-introduce himself to family and friends in Jersey, before he boards a bird and finds himself in Nebraska…if the weather cooperates at the Chicago airport, where he’ll layover and wait for a plane to Omaha. Yeah..all sound so glam, right?
Anyways…I asked Moretti for his take on the bout, which will come on after HBO shows a replay of the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri bout, which took place on Nov. 22. “Ray Beltran beat Ricky Burns, but didn’t get the decision, so, in this whacky world of boxing, you pretty much have the champ, Crawford (age 27; from Nebraska; 24-0 with 17 Kos), fighting the uncrowned champ. Crawford will at some point go to 140, but he will have to FIGHT Beltran (age 33; from Mexico, lives in Arizona; 29-6-1 with 17 Kos) who we know always gives one hundred ten percent. And he can punch.”
So, will this be a fan friendly scrap..or will Crawford’s class maybe make it a runaway? I mean, Crawford's handspeed/movement package is way above average…I can picture the left hooks to the body sapping Beltran, and straight lefts welting his face up. “It will be fan friendly. Beltran will be in his chest the whole time. He will have to throw punches to keep him off of him.”
How long Crawford, who is a two-handed popper, sticks around at 135 is anyone’s guess, but don’t bet on that long. He would make a jump because of 1) his body and 2) marketability: there are bigger names and dollar signs at junior welter. I mean, 140 is stupid-packed and 135…isn’t.
The smart money thinks Crawford is too refined for the rugged man Beltran, who should be a step slow of foot and hand to get the W. But, really, all I really know is of death and taxes. We shall see how it plays out…
Also, here is the release HBO sent out with specifics on the Saturday show:
HBO BOXING® PRESENTS TWO HOT SHOWDOWNS
THANKSGIVING WEEKEND WHEN
HBO BOXING AFTER DARK®: TERENCE CRAWFORD VS. RAY BELTRAN AND
EVGENY GRADOVICH VS. JAYSON VELEZ IS SEEN SATURDAY, NOV. 29
PLUS THE REPLAY OF MANNY PACQUIAO VS. CHRIS ALGIERI
HBO’s hit late-night boxing franchise visits Omaha, Neb. for the second time in less than six months to present an all-action doubleheader of world title bouts when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: TERENCE CRAWFORD VS. RAY BELTRAN AND EVGENY GRADOVICH VS. JAYSON VELEZis seen SATURDAY, NOV. 29 at 10:00 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from CenturyLink Center, exclusively on HBO. The HBO Sports team will be ringside for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
Other HBO playdates: Nov. 30 (8:15 a.m.) and Dec. 1 (12:15 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Nov. 30 (5:45 p.m.) and Dec. 2 (12:15 a.m.)
Last June in Omaha, lightweight titleholder Terence Crawford (24-0, 17 KOs) made his long-awaited hometown debut on HBO, scoring a spectacular comeback KO victory over the previously undefeated Cuban star Yuriorkis Gamboa. The 27-year-old has fast-tracked through the 135-pound division, scoring three victories on HBO last year and adding a world title belt in March 2013.
Ray Beltran (29-6-1, 17 KOs) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico is a formidable opponent on a five-fight winning streak. No stranger to the spotlight, the 33-year-old fought on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. undercard last April, winning a 12-round unanimous decision over Arash Usmanee.
The night from Omaha opens with two undefeated fighters hoping to become breakout stars when Evgeny Gradovich (19-0, 9 KOs) of Russia and Jayson Velez (22-0, 16 KOs) of Puerto Rico clash in a 12-round featherweight title fight. Making his fourth title defense, the 28-year-old Gradovich has shown a willingness to meet anyone, anywhere, having fought three times in Macau, China. Like Gradovich, the 26-year-old Velez has a fan-friendly style that should make for a compelling encounter.
The telecast begins with a replay of the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri welterweight title fight from Macau that featured a dominant performance from Pacquiao in his 17th HBO Pay-Per-View event.
All HBO boxing events are presented in HDTV. HBO viewers must have access to the HBO HDTV channel to watch HBO programming in high definition.