Teak-tough Mexican Raymundo Beltran is the next fighter set to test unbeaten upcoming star Terence Crawford, and the seasoned 29-6-1(17) contender doesn’t agree with those people who feel Crawford is the world’s best at lightweight.
One win removed from his hugely controversial draw with then WBO king Ricky Burns, Beltran now aims to claim the belt from the slick boxer who relived Burns of the title. And Beltran is not worrying about the prospect of boxing in Crawford’s hometown; nor was he overly impressed by the champion’s recent stoppage win over Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Q: You against Crawford is a big, big fight – do you agree with what many people say, that Crawford is the best in the world at lightweight right now?
Raymundo Beltran: “No, I’m not sure I agree with that. The media, the business, they build a fighter up. I mean, he is good, he is a talented fighter, but the best, no, I don’t say that.”
Q: How many of his fights have you seen?
“I saw the [Yuriorkis] Gamboa fight, and a couple of others. He has done well, but I think they can hype a fighter up. Against Gamboa, I knew he [Crawford] would win, and by stoppage. It was meant to be. Gamboa, he makes a lot of mistakes and he is not strong enough, and Crawford is so much bigger [than Gamboa]. I’m not taking anything away from his win, but I knew it would happen. But I am much stronger than Gamboa.”
Once again, as in the case with the Ricky Burns fight, you will be going up against the WBO champion in his own backyard. Have you any concerns, maybe about being robbed again?
“You know, I can’t really think about that; I’m not thinking about that. I will just go in there and do my job, and do the best I can. I will perform anywhere. We all know boxing is corrupt, we all know that. And we all know that if it goes to a decision, they will give it to him. But I can’t think about that. If I did, my head would be messed up, to the point where I couldn’t perform; where my body wouldn’t respond. I have to think that, in the ring, nobody can control what happens. I mean, I know the judges can, but this fight is big and will be on T.V, so everyone will see. If they do rob me, everyone will see it. But I don’t complain. I know how boxing works.”
Just talking about the Burns fight – most people everywhere feel you definitely won. You and Crawford have a common opponent there, yet some feel you looked better against Ricky – flooring him and breaking his jaw – than Crawford did; even though he got the decision you never got?
“You know, I thought so too. But he [Crawford] has his business and his team behind him – they wouldn’t allow him to get robbed. Me, I’m just by myself. They could make sure he got a fair shake; no-one did that for me. But again, I’m not complaining. I don’t need anyone apart from my team to help me win. And I have no hard feelings; I want to say hello to all the English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh fans over there.”
How do you see the fight with Crawford going? Do you see yourself being physical with him, as the big and strong lightweight that you are?
“I think the fight will be very tactical, not so much physical. I’ve got to be smart in this fight. I can’t allow myself to make mistakes.”
Will you be sparring with Manny Pacquiao as you have ahead of a number of your fights?
“I don’t think so, no. I’ll be having my own camp, with my own sparring partners. I’ve already started training actually. I will step it up on September 1st, but I’m already getting myself ready.”
You’d love a KO against Crawford, obviously!
“Yes, I’d love a KO if one comes. But as long as it’s a good fight, where the people enjoy every round, that’s what is important. I just want to perform, enjoy myself and have fun, and give a good fight.”
Is this the fight where you finally get hold of the WBO crown that many people feel should already be yours?
“Yeah, this time God is on my side. I will be fine in this fight.”