Lightweight contender Ray Beltran is back to training after serving a suspension for PED use. Beltran has been training hard, and he has been spotted on a few occasions with Manny Pacquiao doing roadwork and hanging out. Never far from the fight game, Beltran also was seen at a recent Bellator MMA event supporting friend and fighter Michael Chandler. He is looking to return sometime in the May time frame.
In May of 2015, Beltran faced Japan’s Takahiro Ao (27-3-1) with the vacant WBO World title on the line. The title was the belt vacated by Terence Crawford when he moved up in weight, and Beltran made short work of Ao, knocking him out roughly halfway through round two. Later, the result was changed to a “no contest” after the positive test.
Beltran had inserted himself into the title picture in September of 2013 when he faced Ricky Burns in Scotland. He fought the champion Burns to a draw that many thought Beltran won. His second bid for a world title fell short via unanimous decision against Terence Crawford.
Beltran recently spoke to “La Esquina Neutral,” a Spanish language site, where he gave more details about his alleged drug use.
“For the Takahiro Ao fight, I had hired a nutritionist and I had problems. He gave me a substance he said was to cut weight and it turned out to be a banned substance” stated Beltran.
He continued “It took me by surprise, it almost cost me my career. My mistake was to trust in this nutritionist. I didn’t know what I was using, and I didn’t know it might be illegal. I did my own investigation afterwards, and I found out this guy was giving me something serious. We cut him off immediately”. Beltran repeats “he almost ruined my career.”
Beltran left it clear that he wants to come back and face the top names. Tops on his list is England’s Terry Flanagan, the fighter who wound up winning the WBO Lightweight title that Beltran had fought against Ao for.
The conversation turned to Puerto Rican sensation Felix Verdejo and Beltran had this to offer.
“He has a lot of talent, but he isn’t some marvel yet like they are trying to make him out to be. The promoters are pushing him, trying to sell him, but he still isn’t what they say he is. He may be that in time, but he has fought no one of value, he has had no challenges. They are blowing him up comparing him to Trinidad”.
Asked about potentially meeting Verdejo, and Beltran was confident “He doesn’t motivate me in particular, it would be just another fight for me. If there was a title on the line, then it would be welcome, but he doesn’t get my attention other than he has nice Olympic credentials. If they want to throw him at me, go ahead and throw him at me. I doubt his handlers will let that happen”.
Beltran is eager to get his career active and back on track. Besides Flanagan, when asked to name other potential opponents, Beltran stated “Anyone with a belt. Right now at 135 pounds I can dominate the division, I have the talent and the discipline.”
Source: La Esquina Neutral