If there was someone who had a reason to give up boxing, look no further than Raymundo Beltran (26-6). In the opinion of many, Beltran has been on the wrong end of close decisions, once against Sharif Bogere in 2011, and once again to Luis Ramos Jr. this year. Beltran’s old claim to fame was being one of Manny Pacquiao’s chief sparring partner, but that changed tonight.
On the main event of tonight’s edition of Friday Night Fights, Beltran won a majority decision over local favorite ‘Hammerin’ Hank Lundy (21-2-1) at the Resorts Theatre in Atlantic City, NJ. It was a back and forth fight which changed throughout the different stanzas of the fight.
In the first two rounds, Lundy’s speed and boxing ability was clear, keeping Beltran at bay. But in the third round, the tide changed as Beltran did an excellent job of cutting off the ring, and cornering Lundy on the ropes. “He was fast, he was a good boxer, and I took some good shots. But I was taking them and I went forward, and every time I got in close, he was there and I landed some good shots,” stated Beltran.
The turning point seemed to be at the end of the third round, when both man traded shots and looked to stun each other. “It was an important part of the fight. We took each other’s best shot, and we stood up and looked at each other, then we both knew it was going to be a long tough fight.” And that it was.
Beltran kept the pressure and when there were close exchanges, Beltran was there and getting the better of the Philly native. However, Lundy found his stride and in the middle rounds, Lundy began using his movement and jab to score and keep the fight in the middle of the ring probably taking a big chunk of the middle rounds.
“Lundy was tough. He made adjustments but I kept pushing and pushing. In the back of my mind was putting food on the table for my family, putting my kids through college, and one day my dream of a world title,” stated Beltran.
He kept pushing on and on. So while Lundy used his movement to try and slip the pressure, Beltran kept cutting the ring off and catching Lundy. Many ring side observes and Lundy’s corner kept telling Hank to stay off the ropes. Maybe the word didn’t get to Hank or maybe it just was the solid pressure being applied by the new NABF lightweight champion.
After 10 rounds of good action, the scores were read 95-95, 96-94 twice, for the new NABF Lightweight champion, Raymundo Beltran. “Oh man, it was a great feeling. I thought it was going to be a close score but I thought I won the fight. But nothing surprises me anymore, and me being on the road again, I was hoping I’d get a decision in my favor, and I got it,” said Beltran regarding his decision.
The scores ringside were close, some had it a draw, some had it 96-94 Lundy (as I did), and some had it 96-94 Beltran. Regarding another fight, Beltran said, “I’d give Lundy another shot. We both had to get here the hard way, neither of us are paper bullsh*t champions. He gave me an opportunity, and I’m grateful for that.”
Lundy was in line for a big fight with either world champion Antonio Demarco or the flashy Junior Lightweight moving to Lightweight, Adrien Broner. While it may be down the drain for Broner, it maybe an opportunity for Beltran, “Man I’ll fight anybody, whether it’s Broner, Demarco, whoever.”
For a guy that was seemingly never on the good end of any close decision, one must wonder what kept him in the game when it seemed like boxing all but gave up on him. The answer was easy. “It was hard but I never gave up on boxing. It’s a great sport. Yes, there’s bullshit sometimes and it may be hard, but my faith in God and because I love this sport, it hasn’t given up on me yet.”
The first half of ESPN’s doubleheader featured a super middleweight showdown between Philadelphia’s Farah Ennis (20-1) and Richard Pierson (11-3) of Paterson, N.J. Working primarily on the outside, Ennis out-boxed Pierson for 10 rounds, landing effectively to the body to score a 99-91, 98-92, 98-92 unanimous decision win.
It seemed like Pierson was looking to land one big shot a round and was tentative to throw at all. Ennis took advantage landing to the body and being the busier fighter which surely won him the fight. Aside from the 5th round where Pierson landed a nice clean shot, it was all for not as he didn’t follow through and left Ennis off the hook.
With the crowd boos getting louder and the action dying down, Ennis with his activity went cruising to a unanimous decision.
Millville, N.J., middleweight Ismael Garcia (4-0, 1 KO) started the night with a bang, stopping Virginia Beach, Va., native Kenneth Moody (2-4-2) at the 1:09 mark of the opening round. Garcia caught Moody with a solid right hook, sending Moody retreating to the corner holding his right eye. With his opponent’s back turned, Garcia landed two more hooks to the body before the referee stopped the bout. Light welterweight Josh Mercado (6-1) of Cape May, N.J., put on a show in the second undercard bout, exchanging blows with Philadelphia’s Korey Sloane (2-5-1) over the course of four rounds to earn a 39-36, 39-37, 39-37 unanimous decision win.