Ray Beltran missed weight yesterday and couldn't pick up the WBO lightweight title that was supposed to be on the line tonight, but at least he leaves Las Vegas with a win, after smashing Japan's Takahiro Ao in the second round tonight at The Cosmopolitan.
Beltran (30-7-1, 18 KO) imposed his will in round one a bit, and looked like the bigger man, which is not really due to Beltran missing weight. He came in at 136, a pound over, on his first attempt yesterday, and was 135.4 on a second attempt to weigh in. He clearly tried to make the weight, but just couldn't. Ao (27-4-1, 12 KO) is a former featherweight and super featherweight titleholder, and looked small at the weight, but he's still a capable fighter, and the fact is, he was trucked by Beltran in this fight.
Beltran dropped Ao hard with a right hand about 50 seconds into the first round, and though Ao got back to his feet and continued the fight, it was all but over, and Beltran knew it. Beltran went on the attack, landing a series of hard shots that eventually forced referee Tony Weeks to step in and call a halt to the contest at 1:29 of round two.
In a battle of unbeaten welterweight prospects, Konstantin Ponomarev kept his "0" with a strong performance against Mikael Zewski, who seemed to shrink a bit in the spotlight. A good jab, strong body work, and constant activity led Ponomarev (28-0, 13 KO) to a wide decision win on scores of 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91. BLH had it 99-91 for Ponomarev, who is now working with trainer Abel Sanchez and showed some real improvement in this bout. It's a big setback for Zewski (26-1, 20 KO), who spent much of the fight waiting, and once he was down too far, he had to try and swing for the fences. Nothing he tried seemed to work in this fight, and he was clearly outclassed.