TEMECULA, Calif., June 28, 2019 – IBF world lightweight champion Richard Commey of Ghana (29-2, 26 KOs) could lose his title, but veteran and former titleholder Ray Beltran of Tucson (36-9-1, 22 KOs) couldn’t win it due to his failure to make weight on Friday.
But for Beltran, it’s never been about titles, it’s been about determination and heart. He never fails to stand and trade, whether he stands and delivers or not.
Commey looked like he’d make quick work of Beltran, scoring a knockdown early in the first round. But Beltran weathered the punishment in the rest of the round, and continued fighting back for seven more rounds, with three more knockdowns along the way.
Finally, even the veteran warrior Beltran had to yield to the punishment in the end. After being dropped hard by a sweeping left hook, referee Eddie Hernandez gave Beltran the count and then wisely waived off the fight at 53 seconds of the eighth round.
It was Commey’s fourth knockout in a row, and his first title defense. “It was amazing. I feel great, first time I defend. A real champion, Ray Beltran is a strong guy, a real professional. I’m very excited for this first defense,” said Commey, who also thanked his team including trainer Andre Rozier.
Commey and Beltran bring power punching action
The fight was a crowd-pleasing, all action affair. Commey proved himself willing to exchange with Beltran. Even though Commey had the upper hand on the scorecards and began to pull away thanks to the knockdowns, Beltran remained dangerous. Commey took plenty of hard shots from Beltran he didn’t really need to, and he suffered two nasty headbutts, causing his right eye to swell shut by the end of the fight.
Beltran seemed on the brink of disaster several times, pinned agains the ropes as Commey blasted him. But he would escape, take a breath, and go right back in after Commey. It made for an exciting fight to watch, if not an especially smart one. Commey could have stepped back and boxed after a certain point, but it’s not in his DNA. And it’s not in Beltran’s DNA to quit. When the end came, it was the right call.
Asked about the knockout punch after the fight, Beltran laughed and admitted, “I don’t remember. Commey’s a strong fighter. He got me goodl No excuses, it is what it is.”
Beltran stumbled at the weigh-in coming in nearly two pounds over the limit at 136.8 pounds. Promoters struck a deal allowing the fight to continue as long as Beltran didn’t rehydrate up more than 10 pounds (146.8 pounds) at the required IBF morning weigh-in on Friday. It was likely a factor in the outcome of the fight.
Beltran said trying to make weight at age 38 after 46 hard pro fights isn’t feasible anymore. “It’s hard to give you an answer right now. I think I have to go back to my team. I think 140, it was hard for me to make it, I can’t do 135 no more,” said Beltran.
Richard Commey now likely faces a date with the winner of the July 19 title eliminator between Teofimo Lopez and Masayoshi Nakatani. Lopez was ringside and posed for photos with both fighters. Looking ahead, that winner could earn a shot at unified champion and pound for pound player Vasiliy Lomachenko next year to crown an undisputed champion.
Beltran may give the lightweight division a try. He could play a role as a gatekeeper for some of the young talent there, but at age 38 with not an easy round in his career, retirement shouldn’t be too far off. He needs to carefully consider what he’s got left to offer.
Carlos Adames wins one for ‘Big Papi’
In the co-main event, super welterweight Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic (18-0, 14 KOs) remained undefeated with a 10-round unanimous decision over a tough Patrick Day of Freeport, New York (17-3-1, 6 KOs). Scores were 98-91 and 97-93 X 2. Adames retains his NABO and NABF super welterweight titles.
Adames is the harder puncher and landed more in the first few rounds to keep Day at bay. Once Day settled in, he showed himself to be the better boxer and started finding more openings to counter and keep Adames off him. The pair traded solid shots through the middle rounds, but not enough in combination to make a lot of headway through close rounds.
Adames stepped on the gas in the eighth round. Day took the punches well and delivered a few of his own, but he simply doesn’t punch as hard as Adames. With the work adding up, Adames landed hard shots on Day in the ninth, but he ate them and kept coming. Adames kept it up and with a minute left in the ten round fight, landed punch after punch on Day. Any single one of them should have put Day on the canvas, but with referee Rudy Barragan right on top of the fighters, Day stayed on his feet to the final bell.
“Tonight was about getting work in,” said Adames. “I listened to my coach Robert Garcia. He told me in the tenth round ‘he’s ready to go, get the knockout.’ If I had one more minute I would have done it.”
Adames dedicated the win to retired Boston Red Sox pitcher “Big Papi” David Ortiz, shot during a street crime while in the DR several weeks ago. “He’s Dominican, I’m Dominican. No matter what happens, if there’s violence we stand together. I represent the Dominican Republic with pride, and any fighter who steps into the right with this Dominican is going to go out,” said Adames.
The final two rounds equalled the action of the first eight. Credit to Day for ending the fight on his feet. But you can’t win a fight with a tough chin alone, and Adames made it clear it was going to be his night in the second half of the bout.
Results from the Top Rank undercard
Heavyweight Junior Fa of New Zealand (18-0, 10 KOs) survived a fourth round knockdown scare from 44-year-old Dominick Guinn of Houston (37-1-1, 26 KOs) to win the final bout of the night by unanimous decision. Scores were 98-91 X 2 and 97-93.
Ruben Rodriguez of nearby Indio (6-0, 2 KOs) had little trouble with Vicente Morales of Mexico (2-3-2, 1 KO) winning by unanimous decision in his six round lightweight bout by scores of 60-54 on all cards. It was the kind of “getting work in” right every young prospect needs.
Raymond Muratalla of nearby Fontana, California (8-0, 6 KOs) gave his fans three minutes of thrills, stopping Agustine Mauras of Massachusetts (6-6-3, 3 KOs) after one round. Muratalla landed a hard right to the body and left to the head a minute into the fight, dropping Mauras to the canvas. Mauras beat the count, then weathered two minutes of power punching from Muratalla, and it was enough. He retired in the corner, Keep your eye on Muratalla, a good looking lightweight prospect trained by Robert Garcia.
The bout between Dominican prospect Elvis Rodriguez (2-0-1, 2 KOs) and Joaquin Chavez of Commerce (9-18-4, 2 KOs) ended at 2:23 of the first round when Chavez suffered an injury due to an accidental headbutt and was unable to continue. The result was a technical draw, disappointing fans supporting Rodriguez, who is trained by Freddie Roach.
Neno Rodriguez suffers first defeat to Miguel Gonzalez
Local super featherweight Saul “Neno” Rodriguez of Riverside (23-1-1, 17 KOs) ran into the left hand buzzsaw of Miguel Angel Gonzalez of Los Mochis, Mexico (25-5, 22 KOs), suffering his first loss by third round knockout. Rodriguez was knocked down eight seconds into the fight, and again in round two before Gonzalez landed the final left hook, dropping Rodriguez out cold on the canvas. Gonzalez simply couldn’t miss with the left hook all night.
Prospects Christopher Zavala of Los Angeles (5-0, 2 KOs) and Prisco Marquez of Austin, Texas (4-1-1, 1 KO) put in a solid six rounds of action in their super featherweight fight. It was Zavala who kept his undefeated record clean with a unanimous decision scored 60-54 X 3. Zavala was the more active, accurate fighter. He is one to watch.
Middleweight David “Lion of Zion” Kaminsky (5-0, 2 KOs) won in a shutout unanimous decision over Osbaldo Gonzalez (6-5, 4 KOs) with all cards 40-36.
Dmitry Yun of Azerbaijan (1-0) won his debut in the lightweight division over Jose Antonio Meza (6-4, 1 KO) in four rounds. All three scorecards read 59-56 with a point deducted for rabbit punching. Yun now trains at the Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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