Wednesday, February 08, 2023  |


Raymundo Beltran on Terence Crawford: ‘This is my moment’


Undefeated lightweight titleholder Terence Crawford called it “an honor,” and top-10 contender Raymundo Beltran, “my moment.” Top Rank CEO calls their Nov. 29 clash for Crawford’s WBO belt a potential “Fight of The Year.”

In facing Beltran (29-6-1, 17 knockouts) at The CentryLink, Crawford (24-0, 17 KOs) is returning to the site where he scored four knockdowns on the way to June’s come-from-behind ninth-round technical knockout victory over former featherweight beltholder Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-1, 16 KOs).

Crawford-Gamboa took place before 10,943 of the winner’s partisan fans in his native Omaha, Nebraska.

“It’s an honor to fight in my hometown during the holiday season in front of my fans and family who will be traveling to Omaha,” said Crawford, who turned 27 on Sept. 8, during a Tuesday press conference at The CenturyLink Arena.

“It’s great that Top Rank and HBO are coming back into town to promote another show on one of the biggest weekends of the year. My team and I are training hard to put on a good show for everyone. No one will be disappointed.”

Crawford’s bout with Gamboa represented the first title fight in Omaha since heavyweight champion Joe Frazier beat Ron Stander by fifth round knockout in 1972. Crawford was coming off a unanimous decision that dethroned Ricky Burns as WBO beltholder on Burns’ turf in Glasgow, Scotland, in March.

Prior to facing Crawford, Burns had battled to a controversial draw with Beltran, who floored Burns in the eighth round in Glasgow in September 2013. Burns’ jaw was badly broken against Beltran, requiring the surgical implantation of titanium plates in advance of the loss to Crawford.

“This fight between Crawford and Beltran could very well be the fight of the year,” said Arum. “Their styles and skills of both fighters guarantee as much.”

It was after scoring a one-sided unanimous decision over Arash Usmanee in April that Beltran set his sights on Crawford, Nebraska’s first titleholder since Perry “Kid” Graves won the vacant welterweight crown in 1914.

“Crawford has shown to be a talented fighter and is someone I respect,” said Beltran, 33, of Crawford, who ended Burns’ streak of eight consecutive title defenses. “But I see this fight as an opportunity for me to achieve the recognition in the boxing world and the public’s eye. This is my moment.”

Arum also announced that Russian IBF featherweight beltholder Evgeny Gradovich (19-0, 9 KOs) will face Puerto Rico’s Jayson Velez (22-0, 16 KOs) in a clash of unbeatens on the Crawford-Beltran card.