As promised, Terence Crawford will fight again in Omaha.
Making a Mecca
It had been 42 years since Nebraska saw a boxing world title fight being fought in its own backyard. On that day, May 25th, 1972, world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier knocked out Omaha’s Ron Stander in the fifth round of their title bout.
Then came June 28th, 2014 when Omaha’s pride, WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford defended his belt against 2004 Olympic Gold medalist and former two time world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba. It was worth the wait for a victory.
Crawford turned in a star making performance that attracted 10,943 screaming fans inside the Century Link Center in Omaha. Crawford’s sensational performance prompted Top Rank President Bob Arum to promise another fight at Omaha, after Crawford transformed his hometown into a mecca of boxing.
This time, the wait won’t be so long.
Arum told ESPN on Tuesday that Crawford ( 24-0 with 17 knockouts) will be making his next title defense at the same CenturyLink Arena in Omaha, Nebraska on November 29th. Crawford will be defending his title against former WBC NABF lightweight champion Raymundo Beltran ( 29-6-1 with 17 knockouts) of Mexico.
Beltran is more popularly known as Filipino ring legend Manny Pacquiao’s resident sparmate. But he has proven to be a tough cookie himself. Beltran defeated former WBC #1 contender Henry Lundy to win the WBC NABF lightweight title in 2012.
In September 2013, Beltran traveled to Glasgow to challenge then WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns. Beltran broke Burns’ jaw and even knocked him down in Round 8. But instead of earning the decision victory, the judges gifted Burns with a split draw. It was seen as one of the worst boxing decisions in 2013.
Linked to Burns
Beltran was supposed to be given an outright rematch, but incidentally, the WBO later gave the next immediate title shot to Terrence Crawford who traveled to Glasgow and dethrone Burns in a one sided unanimous decision victory. Crawford then went on to knock out the previously unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa last June to retain the belt in his first title defense.
The link to Burns has led Beltran back to the title shot as he now tried to win the belt that was supposed to be already his in 2013. But the path this time is very much harder, as he will be facing an undefeated champion in his hometown.
Crawford is no ordinary champion right now, he is being considered as boxing’s next biggest star and attraction. However, Beltran is not new to fighting big named fighters. In fact, he has been training and sparring with one of boxing’s all-time greats for a long time now.