Ray Beltran graduated from sparring partner, to Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, to champion, and upset NABF lightweight titlist Hank Lundy in the main event of Friday Night Fights from Resorts in Atlantic City. After ten rounds, the judges scored it 95-95, 96-94, 96-94, for the aggressor Beltran, and you could hear the hearts of Team Lundy drop into their guts when the scores were announced. Lundy, rated No. 1 at 135 by the WBC, behind champion Antonio DeMarco, needed to win to hope alive for an Adrien Broner fight.
There will be second guessing, my guess is, for taking the fight, and for fighting in the manner he did. Should he have waited for a title shot, and just fought a softie in the meantime? Did he fight too defensively on this night, and sacrifice some snarl in the name of safety?
Lundy provided some drama at the Thursday weigh-in, needing four tries to make 135. To his credit, he didn't stop sweating until he made the weight. We wonder--would he have showed more against Beltran if he was on weight before Thursday evening?
Beltran had the edge in the stat department; the Mexican went 167-541 to 153-516 for the loser. By and large, the best advice any trainer can give his fighter, as always, is be busier than the other guy.
In the first round, Lundy (21-1-1; age 28; from Philly) showed off a hand speed advantage. He popped a jab and moved his feet smartly to get out of range after doing what he needed to do. In the second, Beltran (age 31; 25-6; from Mexico; longtime sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao) went to the body to good effect early. But Lundy impressed with his torso movement, as he slipped punches with veteran poise. In the third, Beltran kept plowing forward on Lundy. He was cut on his left eye, and the quarters closed late in the third. Beltran got and stayed in Lundy's face. A body shot hurt Lundy and then left hooks had him badly buzzed, but he made it to the end of the round. They both landed left hooks at the same time, and we almost had a double knockdown. Staying stationary hurt Lundy and his corner told him to move more in the fourth. The round was tight, with Lundy moving more, but that took from his offense. Beltran, ever patient, stalked, and looked to land power hooks. Lundy went to lefty and then back righty again.
We wondered if Lundy would get any above and beyond love from the judges if it went to the cards after a tight fifth, because he is the East Coast guy.
In the sixth, Lundy dictated terms with the jab. In the seventh, Lundy fought smart again, keeping off the ropes, making Beltran miss. Beltran in round eight looked to step it up, sensing the end being near. In the ninth, Lundy stayed smart. In round ten,
SPEEDBAG Zab Judah sat in for Teddy Atlas. He looked over and saw perhaps future foe Danny Garcia, sitting in the front row, watching the scraps.
---Shane Mosley joins Joe Tess next week.
Who's the best Mexican boxer today?