Ray Beltran met late replacement Arash Usmanee in the final bout before the main event at MGM Grand in Vegas on Saturday night, and chins were tested for 12 rounds. Both lightweights passed, but it was Beltran, with a strength and skill edge, who got extra credit, in the form of a UD12.
The judges saw it 118-110, 117-111, 117-111.
Beltran went 255-607 to 215-748 for Usmanee.
Usmanee (living in Canada) was 135 pounds, and came in with a 20-1-1 record. Beltran (134.5 pounds; 28-6-1 with 17 KOs; from Los Mochis) was the favorite entering.
In the first, a sharp left by Belter moved Usmanee. He looked a weight class smaller than Beltran. In the second, a nasty right sent notice to Usmanee to slow down. Usmanee is a busy bee, who is a bit wild--ok, more than a bit. In the third, Beltran's accuracy was bothering Usmanee. Inside, Beltran did nasty things, and Usmanee grabbed on.
In the fourth, and fifth, Usmanee did well to hang tough but you had to wonder what his route to victory was. The left hook tested Usmanee's chin, and he passed, repeatedly. In the eighth, Usmanee nodded a gotcha smile when he took a hook to the body. But he kept on eating the leather, and digesting it, and stayed on his feet, till the tenth. Beltran ate a few from Usmanee in that frame, but the other guys' chin stood up as well. Those chins held up to the final bell, though right hands tested Beltran's, and we went to the cards, once again. The last round was pretty stellar, with both men launching brain-rattlers throughout.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV