Raymundo Beltran will receive his first world title shot when he faces WBO lightweight titlist Ricky Burns on September 7 in Glasgow. It's been a long and winding road (!) for the 32-year-old Beltran, who was once best-known as Manny Pacquiao's sparring partner at the Wild Card Gym, but he expects to win, and he does not expect to face the same Ricky Burns we saw in May against Jose "Chelo" Gonzalez.
RTV: You said that you viewed a little bit of footage on Burns. Did you see the fight with Chelo Gonzalez?
RB: I saw a little bit of the Gonzalez fight but I'm not focused on that performance. I'm not getting sucked into people saying; "Oh, he was losing to Chelo Gonzalez" and this and that. I'm only thinking about facing off with Ricky Burns and how I match up against him. If anything Burns is going to come out stronger to prove to people there is no need to doubt him. I expect to fight a better Ricky Burns than Chelo Gonzalez did and I will be ready for it.
Beltran (28-6, 17 KO) may not get another crack at a world title, and he probably has that in mind, too. He wasn't a mandatory defense for Burns (36-2, 11 KO), but instead he's getting this chance just because he's fought his way here, and Burns was willing to fight him. He's been on a good roll lately, looking like a formidable contender, but Burns has been on his own good roll, too, and though he struggled with Gonzalez, in the end he got the job done through sheer will.
Will Beltran pull it off on the road, or will Burns be back to form, so to speak?