Lightweight contender and former world title challenger Ray Beltran is now on the verge of getting another crack at a major belt after his recent impressive title eliminator win. Beltran has had several shots at a belt, most notably when he traveled to Glasgow, Scotland and to most observers was robbed of a championship belt against Ricky Burns. Following that fight, Beltran had a title loss against Terence Crawford and a world title win, that was ultimately overturned. Beltran, now 35, hopes this next shot ends with him finally holding a belt.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Ray Beltran, I get his thoughts on sparring with boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, and talks about what he learned most from Pacquiao. Beltran also talks about Pacquiao continuing his boxing career and what he thinks “The Pacman” has left. Additionally, Ray talks about his world title shot against Ricky Burns, what it will mean to win a championship belt and what message he wants to pass to boxing fans. Here is what Ray Beltran had to say.
Jenna J: You were a long time sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, what did you learn most from working with him?
Ray Beltran: I learned more about being patient, because sparring with Manny was very intense, very critical. I think a sparring session with him is a fight. It helped me a lot in my fights.
Jenna J: Manny has a fight coming up in July. How much more do you think Pacquiao has left at this point? Do you still think he’s at his elite level?
Ray Beltran: Manny is still on top of the game. What a lot of people don’t know is that Manny is a light weight fighting welterweights — he’s even lighter than me. To be fighting welterweights, you have to be special. Manny is a special guy, I think he’s still got a lot, he fought Jessie Vargas in his last fight and I think he did great, regardless of age.
People talk about him not getting knockouts anymore, but people don’t know that he’s a lightweight and it’s hard to score a knockout when you fight a guy who’s bigger than you. You have to use extra energy and make an extra effort to fight the bigger guys. He’s a very special guy.
Jenna J: A lot of people remember your fight with Ricky Burns and they feel that you got robbed very badly in it. Do you already feel like you won a championship even though it wasn’t awarded to you?
Ray Beltran: Yeah, I’m a champion. I don’t officially have the belt but I’m fighting the best. I fought Ricky Burns and I got robbed over there, the fight with Takahiro Ao I could have won the title but I made a mistake and I couldn’t make the weight, but if it wasn’t for that, I would be a champion. I still keep scoring knockouts at the age of 35, I’ve proven that I’m on top of the game. It’s just a matter of time and I’ll be a champion.
Jenna J: What would it mean to win the title and get that validation of becoming a champion officially?
Ray Beltran: It would be a dream come true. It doesn’t matter what people think about me, I just stay positive. I won’t stop until I make it happen.
Jenna J: When can the fans expect you back in the ring?
Ray Beltran: Hopefully in September, that’s what I heard, but we don’t know yet. Hopefully in August or September, but I’ll find out in a few weeks.
Jenna J: Do you have any message to the people who have heard your story and were inspired by it?
Ray Beltran: I want to tell people that no matter how difficult the situations get in your life, just keep working until you make it happen. There’s always going to be negative people who say “go do something else,” but if you believe in yourself, just keep working and keep reaching for your dreams until you make it happen. Just believe in yourself.