Raymundo Beltran (29-6-1) continued his march toward another shot at a world title on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He pounded Arash Usmanee (20-2-1) for most of the fight en route to a clear unanimous decision.
Here are the official scorecards:
Official scores: 118-110, 117-111, 117-111 in favor of Beltran. Up next is the main event: #PacBradley 2— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) April 13, 2014
Usmanee was a late replacement for Rocky Martinez, who was originally scheduled to face Beltran.
At the end of the night, he looked like a guy who took the fight on short notice.
Usmanee seemed to have some success in the first three rounds because of his awkwardness. But ultimately, Beltran's punches simply had more effect.
Per HBO Boxing, both Roy Jones Jr. and Harold Lederman noticed the power difference.
Beltran continued to apply pressure throughout. He exhibited the ring control that judges are trained to look for when scoring fights. Beltran talked about what pushed him to victory after the fight:
“This is one of my greatest performances. He was difficult. My hook & my body shots were the difference." - Ray Beltran on his win— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) April 13, 2014
For most of the bout, Usmanee looked off balance. By the sixth round, he seemed to be striving to remain competitive and survive.
He did at least accomplish those goals.
Per Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, the win sets up a shot at WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford. If things go as planned, it'll be the second shot Beltran will have at the WBO crown.
He was robbed the first time he vied for the belt. Despite breaking Ricky Burns' jaw in the second round, and flooring him in the eighth, the bout was called a draw.
Burns subsequently lost the title to Crawford in March. It's an indirect route to glory, but Beltran will be looking to right a wrong against Crawford.
Beltran won easily on Saturday night, but he wasn't overly impressive. Because of that, it's hard to like his chances against Crawford.
The new champion is quicker and a much sharper boxer. Beltran will celebrate on Saturday night, but he'd be a heavy underdog against Crawford.
Usmanee is a solid pro, but he didn't do anything on Saturday to help grow his popularity. We may see him again, but it probably won't be a fight on a pay-per-view broadcast.
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