Current WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford will face Ray Beltran on November 29 in his hometown of Omaha, and though the fight is for the vacant lineal belt as recognized by The RING Magazine, the 27-year-old Crawford is indicating that it will be his final fight at the weight.
"This is my last fight at 135 and then I'm moving up. I've been at this weight since I was 17, so that's 10 years. I just feel like it's in my best interest to move up. But right now, I'm focused on my next fight against Beltran. ... From 140 all the way up to 147, there are a lot of exciting fights to be made in those weight classes. But 140 is next for me and after my fight with Beltran, I'm ready to see what I can do with that division."
Crawford does have one notable fight at 140 pounds, as he beat Breidis Prescott at the junior welterweight limit on March 30, 2013, in his HBO debut. Since then, he's won four straight at 135 pounds, including a title win over Ricky Burns in March of this year, and a successful defense against Yuriorkis Gamboa in June.
Crawford (24-0, 17 KO) says he will be tuning in for Pacquiao-Algieri tonight, but isn't looking to fight the winner next. That fight could be coming, though, as Pacquiao has indicated he's considering a move back down to 140, and Algieri was at 140 before this fight.
Beltran (29-6-1, 17 KO) will certainly be coming to derail any plans Crawford has for a big immediate future, though, and the gritty 33-year-old veteran shouldn't be ignored. Prior to his April win over Arash Usmanee, Beltran was robbed via draw in Scotland against Burns last September, a fight pretty much everyone -- including Crawford -- thought he deserved to win. In a way, it sort of feels like Crawford is now fighting the true titleholder as he makes his second defense.