Ricky Burns vs Raymundo Beltran – Fight Preview
By Peter Wells
It feels almost a life-time ago now since Ricky Burns’ career was showing cracks when defeats to Alex Arthur and Carl Johanneson meandered his progress. Now reeling off the back of 21 victories in succession the Scotsman is looking like a completely different animal, he is a surprise package that no one ordered, but still everyone is glad it turned up.
Taking on Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez seemed to be a mountain too high for Burns 36-2(11), but even an early trip to the canvas could not derail Burns’ quest. He grew as the rounds swiftly passed by, before he was awarded a close but deserving decision to claim the WBO Super Featherweight title.
Now in his reign as Lightweight champion with the same governing body (WBO) Burns will defend for the 3rd time against unheralded Mexican Raymundo Beltran 28-6(17). Beltran’s most recent defeats to Sharif Bogere and Luis Ramos Jr were both contentious decisions where the 32 year old believed he should have been the victor.
His bad luck was followed by two big wins against Hank Lundy (W MD) & Ji-Hoon Kim (W UD) to force himself back into the world title picture, an elementary victory over Alejandro Rodriguez in April was the final step towards his first major World title shot.
While Beltran enters this contest in the richest vein of form in his career Burns has questions to answer following his last performance. On the 11th May Jose Gonzalez dominated Burns for 7 rounds, almost stopping the champion midway through the contest. When Gonzalez retired after the 9th stanza claiming a wrist injury, Burns was by far the most relieved man in the arena. Gonzalez was unknown coming into the contest but his name is now being swung about at the top of the Lightweight ladder, while many are left pondering just how good Burns really is.
Beltran though does not possess the same style as Gonzalez that caused Burns so much bother. Beltran’s come-forward aggressive style has proved in the past to be Burns’ forte. With Beltran coming towards Burns, the lanky Lightweight can pick Beltran off while his large frame will prevent the smaller Beltran from bullying him around the ring.
Beltran has been stopped twice, the first being very early in his career, but back in 2009 the raw but powerful Ammeth Diaz demolished Beltran in 4 rounds after inflicting two knockdowns. Burns not known as a puncher does hold underestimated power.
For Beltran to win then he needs to apply smart aggression, keeping Burns in the pocket by not chasing the fight. By staying smart Beltran can keep Burns right in front of him, which will be key, but if he begins chasing the fight then Burns can move and counter before the Scot takes centre ring himself.
Understandably this will be a close fight, and if after 6/7 rounds there are only a couple rounds between the pair, then this may be when Beltran instinctively chases Burns around the ring. This will then be Burns’ chance to pull away down the stretch, moving sensibly before planting his feet when he regains centre ring. Burns can use his reach advantage to shoot off punches first before taking a few small steps to the side, constantly turning Beltran. But don’t underestimate Beltran, the Mexican will not stop trying to cut the ring off and if he does succeed then danger looms for Burns.
While I expect Beltran to keep it tight early in the fight and may even have a slender lead by the half way mark, my pick is for Burns to up the tempo in the final 6 rounds as he begins to take a more commanding position before taking a unanimous decision.
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