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Richard Commey vs Ray Beltran: Staff picks and predictions

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Richard Commey and Ray Beltran meet Friday, and our staff pick the winner.

Richard Commey defends the IBF lightweight title this Friday night on ESPN, with former titleholder Ray Beltran as his opponent.

The BLH staffers make their picks for the fight.

Scott Christ

It’s not that I think Richard Commey is a great fighter, and if he gets a date down the line with Vasiliy Lomachenko, I think he will be sorely out of his depth. But I think Commey is a terrible style matchup for Ray Beltran at this point. Beltran is 38, past his prime years — where he was extremely tough more than he was some great talent — and just on the wrong side of things career-wise. He peaked some years back and it’s been a gradual decline since.

Commey having power in both hands and durability of his own leads me to think he out-guns Beltran, but I expect a real firefight here. Beltran will have bits of success if Commey is drawn into the war in closer quarters, but Commey is going to overpower him and end things inside the distance, I think. Beltran will make it a fight, though, even if he loses most of the rounds along the way. Commey TKO-10

Wil Esco

Here’s another fight I’ve gone back-and-forth on in recent days. On one hand, I’m sure we’ve already seen the best of what 38-year-old Ray Beltran has to offer. At his best he’s an excellent counterpuncher with some pretty solid power, and we’ve seen him turn the lights out against a certain level of opposition. So, for me, this fight comes down to what you really make of Richard Commey. Commey is obviously younger than Beltran at age 32, and so should be fresher, but he’s also not the most technically sound fighter out there and doesn’t have a real marquee win on his resume.

I’ve watched some recent tape on Commey and can’t help but notice that he has a bad habit of not bringing his hands right back to his face after he punches. And considering that he’s not hesitant to throw long, lunging punches, that defensive liability could prove to be a problem against an accurate counterpuncher like Beltran. The one thing I’m still sort of hesitant about is the accumulated wear and tear on Beltran’s body, though. He’s been in more than a few wars, and serving as the chief sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao for all those years certainly didn’t add to his shelf life. I’m sort of inclined to pick Commey on youth but I think this could be a favorable style matchup for Beltran, and last week wasn’t so kind for me in the picks department so I’ve got to make it up in the standings somehow. Beltran SD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg

The list of lightweights who can consistently beat Commey is fairly short, and the list of lightweights that can beat him by out-brawling him borders on nonexistent. Beltran in his late 20s or early 30s may have fit the criteria, but Beltran at 38 does not; he’s outgunned and on the wrong end of a significant durability discrepancy.

Beltran’s not going to out-slick Commey and has very little going his way if it comes to a firefight. I’m not sure if Commey can put him all the way out, but he’ll lay down enough of a beating to get the referee involved. Commey TKO-8

Lewis Watson

Commey may be adapting to life as a champion, but the 32-year-old has shown more than enough since his back-to-back losses in 2016 to prove he belongs at this level. The Ghanaian holds fire in both hands with an aggressive approach proving successful at lightweight; his relentless desire to throw punch after punch makes him a fighter who’s very easy on the eye.

This output should prove pivotal against an ageing Beltran. The former world champion is enjoying a twilight period in his career but will struggle to find that one-punch power to trouble the champion. Beltran will march forward but is likely to get picked off by Commey, who could make this a miserable night for the challenger at range. Beltran will bring the fire, but Commey has too much over the championship distance. It could be a fun fight for the opening 4-5 rounds, until Commey starts cantering towards the finish line. Commey UD-12

And the staff winner is...

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Richard Commey (3-1)!

Bad Left Hook will have live coverage of Commey vs Beltran on Friday, June 28, starting at 10 pm ET on ESPN, with prelims at 7 pm ET on ESPN+