Ray Beltran talks WBO title fight with Takahiro Ao
For years, every interview Ray Beltran undertook will have included at least one question about Manny Pacquiao. Beltran, 29-7-1 (17), has been one of Pacquiao’s main sparring partners during the Filipino’s rise to superstardom and, given the timing of Beltran’s vacant WBO lightweight world title fight with Takihiro Ao this Friday night, I can’t help but ask him another Manny Pacquiao question. However, instead of the stock question about how Pacquaio is looking ahead of his latest fight – which just happens to be his mega fight with Floyd Mayweather - I wonder if Beltran appreciates the irony that he can finally become a world champion and fully emerge from Pacquiao’s shadow on the eve of the biggest fight in decades.
“You know what? Everybody follows whatever they hear. Manny is a very popular figure so people will obviously focus on him rather than paying attention to what I’ve been doing on my own,” 33 year old Beltran told Livefight, “It doesn’t bother me at all though, it doesn’t matter. Being in Manny’s camp as a sparring partner is nothing but good for me. One way or the other it put my name out there. I think I’ve been doing some good things on my own and I’m gonna become a world champion.”
“It has, man, it has.” Beltran sighs when I enquire if it feels like he’s been on a long journey. “But if I become a world champion, even if they say that I was Pacquiao’s sparring partner, nobody will be able to take that away from me.
“Manny will be an immortal but maybe, somewhere in his story, my name will be there too. I’ll become immortal like him.”
Having had the misfortune to come up against the brilliant Terrence Crawford and suffering on the scorecards having seemingly dominated Ricky Burns, Beltran has finally had a stroke of luck. Juan Diaz’s unfortunate shoulder injury and eventual withdrawal has opened the door for a third shot at the WBO belt.
Ao, 27-3-1 (12), is an accomplished fighter and has previously held title belts at featherweight and super featherweight but jumping up five more pounds to the lightweight division could prove to be a tough ask for a 31 year old quick, flashy southpaw who prefers to dominate proceedings from the centre of the ring. It is extremely difficult to dissuade Beltran from making forward progress and at some point Ao is going to have to fight to earn the right to impose his style.
“I’m feeling good. I’m ready to do my job,” Beltran said. “I think I can do well. I’ve watched him on a couple of tapes but I have very good sparring partners and I’m ready for the fight. One guy is called David Mijares who’s an amateur but a very, very good fighter. I’m also sparring with Mercito Gesta. He’s a very good fighter. They’re the main two guys who have been giving me a lot of work. It’s not been easy. We’ve tried to make it as complicated as we can and we’re ready for the fight.
“I really believe in me. I take nothing away from Takahiro because he’s a former world champion but I have a lot of belief in myself. I’m the fighter making it happen and grinding away, you know. I’m gonna become a world champion and I’m gonna do it on Friday night.”
Beltran’s third tilt at the WBO lightweight belt will take place at The Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas. The Cosmopolitan may be precisely 307 miles from his hometown of Tempe, Arizona but, having faced Burns in Glasgow and Crawford in Omaha, it is virtually a home tie for him.
“Finally! I finally have a fight that’s kind of in my backyard. It’s not quite home but it’s more of a neutral place. I don’t get over comfortable though, I still have to go out there and do my job. You can never trust the judges, especially in Vegas! Even though I have a good promoter (Top Rank) they [Ao’s team]are also very powerful promoters too so you never know.”
Although Manchester’s Terry Flanagan is almost certain to be installed as the mandatory challenger for the new champion and another Manchester fighter, Anthony Crolla, also holds a lofty position in the WBO lightweight rankings a return trip to Britain wouldn’t be high on Beltran’s agenda.should he beat Ao. The robbery he was subjected to in Glasgow has obviously had some effect but after a long, hard career Beltran feels that it would be time to reap the rewards of success.
“I know Anthony Crolla. We’ve worked together and we’ve sparred already. He’s a really good fighter, a good fighter and a nice person. I’ve a lot of respect for him and I like him,” said Beltran who had also head about Crolla’s unfortunate run in with a pair of burglars and wished him well. “It would be nice to share the ring with him for a title. I’m not looking ahead but, you know, if I were a champion I don’t wanna be going all the way over there! I’m taking nothing away from them but people do strange things and although I have a good manager who’d look out for me, as a champion, I’d rather stay over here.”
Worldwide TV listings for Mayweather vs Pacquiao
Below is a worldwide list of all known television broadcasters whom will be showing the mega-fught between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather tomorrow night.
The main fight will happen at approximately 4am GMT:-
Australia Main Event
Austria Sky Select
Cambodia CTC , CNC
Czech Republic Sport 1
Denmark Viaplay PPV
Finland Viaplay PPV
Germany Sky Select
Hong Kong Now TV
Hungary Sport 1
Israel Charlton Sport 1
Japan WOWOW Prime
Korea SBS , SBS Sports
Mexico Televisa , Azteca
New Zealand Sky Arena
Norway Viaplay PPV
Peru Frecuencia Latina
Philippines Solar Sports , GMA Network , ABS-CBN , TV5
Poland Telewizja Polska
Romania Digi Sport
Singapore StarHub TV
Slovakia Sport 1
South Africa Supersport
Sweden Viaplay PPV
United Kingdom Sky Box Office
United States HBO , Showtime
Argentina TV Pública , GOLDEN
Belgium Be TV Sport
Brazil ESPN Brasil , SporTV
UAE OSN Movies Box Office 1
Thailand Channel 7
Spain Taquilla PPV
Puerto Rico Claro TV PPV
Nicaragua Canal 4
Malaysia Astro Box Office Sport
Italy Deejay TV
Iceland Stöð 2 Sport
VIDEO: MayPac Daily episode one
Episode One of the Showtime-produced "MayPac Daily" who talk predicitions, the build-up and they also talk to the WBC about that $1m dollar belt that will be on the line:-
Floyd to make 'grand entrance' today at 1pm at MGM
Floyd Mayweather will be making a 'star studded' entry to the MGM grand garden arena today at 3pm in Las Vegas. A host of celebrities and sports stars will gather for the free event, which begins at 2pm before the fighter joins them an hour later.
The Fight of the Century is finally upon us! Join us in kicking off Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight Week Events TOMORROW At The MGM Grand Garden Arena. Come see Floyd Mayweather, Leo Santa Cruz and many more!
The event will be hosted by renowned entertainment personality Doug E. Fresh with performances by stand-up comedian Ricky Smiley and world famous The Southern University "Human Jukebox" Marching Band.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 28
1:00 p.m. PT - MGM Grand Garden Arena Doors Open
2:00 p.m. PT - Grand Arrival Show Begins
3:00 p.m. PT - Floyd Mayweather Arrives
WHERE: MGM Grand Garden Arena
3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Ricky Hatton describes Pacquiao's heavy firepower
Retired 2-weight world champion Ricky Hatton describes the power that Manny Pacquiao possesses. The pair met at the MGM Grand back in May 2009, with Ricky suffering a two-round KO loss.
The Manchester fighter had a torrid training camp under new trainer Floyd Mayweather senior leading up to the fight , but Hatton made no apologies for his defeat, and described the punch-power strength of the one of his Filipino foe and what he needs to do to beat Mayweather this Saturday night.
"Against Manny Pacquiao, he was very heavy-handed he was and he just wasn't going to give ground. He was trying to hit me hard as I was marching in" said Hatton
"He's a more explosive puncher than Floyd Mayweather. He hurt me with every punch to be honest. Even the arm punches, they were solid."
Hatton discusses how he thinks Manny can possibly beat Floyd, he says that Manny probably matches him for hand speed, but the key will be in their gameplan.
"I don't for one minute believe that Freddie will be saying 'Jump all over him' , because we've all tried that and we've all failed!" laughed the 'Hitman'.
"So I'm sure they will be working on something a little bit different. I think it'll be fast feet, then in and out, in and out, lots of punches to try and out-work him.
"If Manny comes straight out and goes for him, which most people seem to think he'll do, It'll be a fantastic fight."
Hatton, Oscar, Cotto talk facing both Pac and Floyd
Boxing legends Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto all discuss facing both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
They discuss their strengths and weaknesses, plus their predictions for this Saturday's mega fight:-
Episode 2 - Inside Mayweather vs Pacquiao VIDEO
Episode 2 of "Inside Mayweather vs Pacquiao" :-
Froch prediction correct "Ward cannot make weight"
Andre Ward took a pop at Carl Froch this week at the Boxing Writer's dinner. Ward claimed that a rematch with Froch failed to materialise on account of the Nottingham man.
When asked about his upcoming fight, Ward declared that they "Couldn't find Carl Froch" before stating that "I think he's on an extended vacation - so we are fighting the next best guy, Paul Smith."
Earlier in March, during a public spat between the pair, Froch declared that he believed that Andre Ward had no intention of making the rematch at all. Froch stated that he believed that Ward could no longer even make the weight class for the super middleweight clash. The announcement of a catchweight bout certainly adds credibility.
"He's just dragging it out now and I don't think he's gonna come (to England). I think he's all smoke and mirrors." Said Froch a month ago.
"Infact I don't even know if he can do super middleweight anymore, he won his medal at the Olympics at light heavyweight, he always struggles to do super middle and I don't know if you've seen the size of him lately, but he's like walking around at 200lb, so I think it's all hot air (by Ward)."
Froch's plans to fight in Las Vegas took a backward step recently, after his proposed target Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was halted last Saturday by Andrzej Fonfara in 9 lop sided rounds. Froch's next move has yet to be determined, with many predicting that he will call time on his illustrious career.