At the age of 37, Ray is a 19-year pro. A former WBO lightweight world champion, he won the title in his February, 2018 – 18 years and seven months after his debut, and four months before his 37th birthday It was his fourth world title challenge over a span of 4 ½ years.
For several years Ray was best known as one of Manny Pacquiao’s main sparring partners at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California.
In his last fight on August 25, 2018, in Glendale, Arizona, he lost the title by 12-round unanimous decision against Jose Pedraza.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: It took Raymundo Beltran four tries and 19 years to finally win an elusive lightweight world title, but it was a fleeting reign – a mere six months.
Jose “Sniper” Pedraza came to Beltran’s home region, knocked him down in the 11th round and dethroned him by unanimous decision in a bloody, action-packed fight before 4,502 in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card at the Gila River Arena. [note: scored 117-110, 117-110, 115-112]
Despite chants of “Mexico! Mexico!” from the pro-Beltran crowd almost as soon as the fight began, Pedraza had a strong opening round as he found a home for his consistent jab to the head and body. Pedraza continued to land as evidenced by the marks on Beltran’s face in the second round. He was bruised and bleeding from a cut under his left eye and taking punches while not landing many.
Beltran tried to exert pressure on Pedraza in the fourth round, stalking forward and looking to land body shots while also dabbing at the cut on his left eye. When Beltran got close, however, Pedraza tied him up and then slipped away.
The fight became more of a toe-to-toe battle in the fifth round as they exchanged big shots in the center of the ring. Every time Beltran landed, his hometown crowd went wild.
Beltran, a Mexico native who has lived in Phoenix for 16 years, was clearly trying to slow the quicker Pedraza down in the sixth round as he spent most of the round only attacking his body. Pedraza had abandoned his jab, and it was a lot easier for Beltran to get on the inside.
There were fierce exchanges in the ninth round. The blood from Beltran’s cut was flying to the point where Pedraza’s once-white ponytail holder had turned red.
Pedraza got back to his jab in the 10th round, but it was from his right hand because he had turned southpaw.
As Beltran, who was walked into the ring by Phoenix boxing legend and Hall of Famer Michael Carbajal, continued to pressure Pedraza, he took a right hand in the 11th round that sent blood flying from his face. Moments later, Pedraza landed a left uppercut to drop Beltran to his rear end. He easily beat the count, but Pedraza forced him to the ropes and landed several more punches late in the round.
The crowd was on its feet as the 12th round began, but Beltran could not break through. Instead, Pedraza forced him to the corner in the waning seconds of the fight and clobbered him with several head-snapping shots to close the fight with powerful authority. [End Rafael item]
In his post-fight interview, Ray said, “I thought it was a good, close fight. The knockdown made the difference. I got caught with a really good shot.
“As far as the future, it’s too early to tell. Pedraza fought a great fight, and all the respect to him.”
Ray was considered a top prospect early in his career, managed and trained by Emanuel Steward. Regarding those early days, he said, “I was in Detroit with Emanuel Steward for a couple of years in 2001 and 2002. He used to be my manager. I started as a pro in Phoenix and after five or six fights, I went to Detroit. Emanuel gave me that name – ‘Sugar.’ I don’t really like it. It’s too big to carry that name.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Ray said, “I was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. I got one brother and one half-brother. My father has his own business in Mexico. He sells clothes and auto parts, stuff like that. He also has a gym at his house. It’s a small gym, nothing special. He was a professional boxer, and my uncles and cousins were pros.
“I started boxing when I was eight years old. I did a couple of amateur fights, then I retired. I came back when I was 14 or 15. I had about 30 amateur fights altogether. I got like, 27 wins and three losses.
“I was 16 when I moved to the United States. My family moved to Phoenix. I did a couple more amateur fights after I moved there. I lived in L.A. for five or six years, but now I moved back to Phoenix.
“I’m naturally right-handed. My wife’s name is Guadalupe Beltran, and we’ve got three kids, two boys and one girl. My oldest boy, Edgar, was 12 in January, and my daughter, Eden was 14 in February. My little boy, Edwin, was eight in November. They give me strength. They give me more courage to fight.
“I’ve lived in Phoenix since I was 16 years old – this is home for me. I love Mexico, don’t get me wrong – I’ll never forget where I come from – but my life is here now. I’ve got all my friends here, all of my kids were born here. I’ve got family back home and I love to go and visit, but my life is here now.”…
STRENGTHS: Has good skills and movement…physically strong, has good punching power…tough, durable and determined, has lots of heart…is experienced against top opposition…has a strong family boxing tradition…
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 45 fights…259 total rounds…50 world championship rounds…
AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 5.7 rounds…
KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: of total fights – 46 %…of wins – 60 %…
DISTANCE FIGHTS: 12 rounds – 5 (2-2-1)…10 rounds – 7 (5-2)…