IBF Lightweight Champion Richard Commey (28-2, 25KOs) will meet tested warrior, Raymundo “Sugar” Beltran (36-8-1, 22KOs) on Friday, June 28 at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California. The winner of this fight will most likely fight unified lightweight champ (WBA/WBO) Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (13-1, 10KOs). Lomachenko will face Luke Campbell (20-2, 16KOs) some time in either August or September for the vacant WBC title. So this fight between Commey and Beltran has significant implications.
Ghana native, Richard Commey is coming off of a TKO win in the 2nd round against Isa Chaniev (13-2, 6KOs) in February. Commey was supposed to fight Lomachenko, but the fight was put off due to a hand injury Commey suffered during his last bout. Commey is big, long, strong and he can box. He poses problems for anyone in the lightweight division. In this fight in particular, Beltran with his aggressive style might be in for a long night… or even a short night. Commey does not just box well, he is very good on the inside, he can go toe to toe and exchange – he can do it all. He is not elite in any one thing but he’s well rounded. He should be heavily favored going into this fight.
Raymundo Beltran on the other hand is somewhat limited as far as style and skill goes. He is very agressive, has pretty good power, and is good on the inside, but not great. His technical skills are limited. With guys like Beltran you really never know because his engine is always going, he keeps coming forward until you put him out. He shows that he still has some gas left in the tank with a 9th round KO win over Hiroki Okada who was 19-0, 13KOs coming into the fight. Okada was unproven though and one could debate if the win holds any weight. It was a close fight until the KO, so at the very least it shows he will still mix it up and dig deep to get the job done. For that much, you have to respect him.
Keys to Victory for Richard Commey:
- Work the body. Beltran has one thing going for him and it’s that he has very good stamina. Commey needs to go to the body early and often, make the older Beltran tired in the later rounds (if it goes that long). Take away Beltran’s advantages.
- Establish the jab, control the range. Commey has a 71″ reach, 4 inch reach advantage. Come forward and pepper Beltran with the jab, mix in combos downstairs, then come back upstairs. Must avoid Beltran inside, must avoid the left hook. Commey doesn’t move his head enough to go toe to toe with Beltran like that, it’s an unnecessary risk.
- Clinch on inside, throw short punches. Commey will probably exchange, just because that’s what type of fighter he is. It’s just not necessary for him, if the fight goes past 5-6 rounds, and he finds himself in short firefights on the inside, he should grab, while keeping a high guard and throw short, crisp punches to the body and try to make Beltran open up upstairs. Commey is strong enough to destroy Beltran on the inside.
- Come forward intelligently. Yes he needs to control the distance, and avoid fire fights, but if he can hurt Beltran early, no reason not to walk him down and try to put him out. My biggest knock on Commey is that he doesn’t use enough head movement, so he will want to come forward leaving his hands up (fundamental, but in this case it’s worth noting). Beltran has been cut in a few of his recent fights, and if Commey can cut him, he should swarm him and try to overpower him and go all in for a KO.
Keys to Victory for Ray Beltran:
- Use a lot of feints. Beltran isn’t known for utilizing much of a jab, so the only way he will force his was inside is to constantly utilize upper body movement and feints. He has to force his way inside or he has no shot. He will want to do it without getting peppered by Commey’s jab and taking a lot of damage while doing it.
- When inside, Utilize the uppercut. If you watched Commey against Robert Easter Jr, or even his last fight against Chaniev – he had problems with the uppercut. Both opponents landed it at will it seemed. When Beltran gets inside, he should go to body, the work that uppercut. Hopefully for his sake, it can set up a beautiful left hook that he’s known for.
- Work the body. Like Beltran himself, Commey doesn’t really gas out. I don’t see Beltran knocking him out early, so body work will be key. It will also be key for setting up other punches upstairs. Beltran has always been good with throwing body punches, so it shouldn’t be a problem once he gets into range. He can mix in the feints, drop down and throw a quick left hook to body, or a snappy jab.
Even thought Beltran isn’t being given much of a chance by most boxing fans – there are ways for him to frustrate Commey, and make the fight competitive and close. He probably won’t win, but if he can make it a good enough fight, maybe he keeps himself in the convo for a title shot at a later time or fighting someone else for a title eliminator. If Beltran loses convincingly, this is pretty much his last shot at a world title. At 38 years old, it’s hard to imagine him being in the sport much longer, let alone going on a championship run in a stacked lightweight division. My prediction: Commey by mid-late round TKO
The fight will be shown on ESPN. The main event will start around 10 PM EST. The undercard will be shown on ESPN+ and will start at 7 PM EST. The main event also includes a 10 round junior middleweight bout between Carlos Adames (17-0 14KOs) and Patrick Day (17-2-1, 6KOs).