By Jeremy Roseman
Photos courtesy of Team Beltran
Ray Beltran Jr. (23-4, 15 KOs) goes toe-to-toe with Carlos Vinan (10-8-2, 2 KOs) for the vacant USBA lightweight title this Friday in the main event of the “Warner Center War 3″ card at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, California. Beltran, from Los Angeles, by way of Mexico, TKO’ed lightweight prospect David Torres in his last fight (January 2010) to earn a top 15 ranking in the NABO and USBA.
Vinan, from Newark, NJ by way of Ecuador, shocked former European lightweight champion Anthony Mezaache with an 8th round knockout this past July. Vinan is ranked by the IBF as the #15 contender at lightweight.
Beltran, who is a regular sparring partner for Manny Pacquaio and Amir Khan, trains out of Wildcard Boxing Club under the tutelage of Freddie Roach and former Olympian Pepe Reilly.
Beltran talked with FightNews earlier this week about his showdown with Vinan.
How does it feel to be fighting for the USBA Lightweight title?
What?! I’m fighting for the USBA Title? My opponent didn’t pull out? I’m joking but hey Bro, knock on wood! My opponents pulled out on me the last three fights. It feels great that I will finally be back in the ring to show my skills. I’m so focused for this fight. The USBA title is the first major step towards a world title.
Your opponent Carlos Vinan is known to be one of the most underrated fighters in the world, has fought some of the best fighters in your division and upset a lot of them., and is the #15 ranked lightweight in the world in the IBF ratings. What do you know about your opponent?
First off I want to give Carlos Vinan credit for taking this fight. There are a lot of fighters out there that don’t want to fight me. Vinan is a good fighter. He’s an aggressive fighter. People underestimate him because of his record but they don’t take into consideration who he has fought. His record is real. He is not a fighter that has been manufactured by a promoter. I am not underestimating him. I have trained very hard for this fight.
You have been a regular at Freddie Roach’s Wildcard Boxing Club. How does it feel to be training at such a prestigious gym?
It is great. Wildcard is like my second family. And you cannot beat the fighters in that gym. I have had great sparring. I’ve done a bunch of rounds with Jaime Kavanagh, Shawn Porter, and Lenny Zappavigna who’s fighting for the IBF lightweight title this month.
You have been one of Manny Pacquiao’s regular sparring partners. How is it sparring and training with Manny? Do you plan on going to the Philippines to help prepare him for the Shane Mosley fight?
Manny is my boy. I have been one of Manny’s regular sparring partners since the first Juan Manuel Marquez fight in 2004. I’ve helped him get ready for almost everybody, Morales, Oscar, Hatton, Cotto, Margarito. I have done more rounds with Manny than anybody. I remember the first few times I sparred Manny before anybody knew him. He hit me with some shots that felt like lightening bolts shooting down my whole body. Man, he could punch. Its been great sparring with him because as his level and skill increased so did mine.
I’m not sure if I’m going to the Philippines yet. I’m still discussing it with Freddie. I think I will be helping Manny get ready for Mosley at some point. I have gone to the Philippines before with Manny. It’s a beautiful country and always a great experience. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity.
If you win the USBA Lightweight title, what will be your next move?
My next move would be to take my family out and celebrate! I would like to fight another highly ranked fighter to move myself up in the rankings. I would love to get a TV fight. That’s the only way to get recognized by boxing fans and get the bigger fights. I think the fans are looking for real fighters, guys that will fight anybody and put it all on the line. That’s how I fight, like a real Mexican.
What should people that don’t know about Ray Beltran Jr. expect to see?
I hope after they see me fight they are going to wonder why they didn’t know about me about me sooner! I want the fans to see a style that they love. A fighter with speed and power and balls. They will see why I have been Manny’s main training partner for almost seven years. They should know I am a family man. That I have a wife and three children and that I fight for them and the fans.
Would you like to add anything?
Thank you to everybody that is coming out to the fight on Friday. I will do my best to put on a great show for the fans. Thanks to my family and friends for their support. Thanks to my Dad, Freddie Roach, Pepe Reilly, Jaime Kavanagh ,Sedano Ruiz, Mike Vale, Zappavigna, Porter and all my sparing partners for helping me get ready. I like meeting new fans so feel free to come over and say what’s up. Come down to Wildcard Boxing Club anytime also. See you all at the fight!
The “Warner Center War 3″ event is set to take place at the Grand Ballroom of the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, California and is presented by Kahren Harutyunyan of Art of Boxing Promotions in association with Steve Bash of Bash Boxing.
In the co-main event, Otis Griffin (23-6-2, 9 KOs), ranked #7 by the IBF, puts his USBA light-heavyweight title on the line against Yusaf Mack (28-3-2, 17 KOs), who the #8 USBA contender. This is a world title elimination bout with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger to IBF light-heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud.
“Warner Center War 3″ will also showcase a stacked undercard of highly regarded and ranked local fighters including super flyweight Javier Gallo (16-3, 9 KOs) form Buena Park, hard-hitting welterweight Hugo Centeno (5-0, 5 KOs) from Oxnard, and cruiserweight Anatoliy Dudchenko (10-2, 7 KOs) of West Hollywood. Also in action is Russian heavyweight Andrey Fedosov (21-2, 17 KOs)
A limited amount of tickets remain and can be purchased (626) 388-8888. Doors open at 7p and the first bout is at 7:30 p.m.