Crawford vs Beltran - Terence Crawford celebrates win over Raymundo BeltranOn November 29th, 2014, Terence Crawford successfully defended his WBO Lightweight title for the second time against Mexico’s hard-hitting Raymundo Beltran. The Omaha native put in a near shutout performance at the CenturyLink Centre, Nebraska, winning a Unanimous Decision from scores of 109-119, 108-120, 109-119.

As the numbers suggest, Crawford dominated from the first bell. Beltran found some success, it has to be said, by laying on the pressure and throwing enough leather to keep the champion on his toes. However, as we witnessed in Crawford’s first defense (Crawford vs Gamboa) in June 2014, the Omaha-born fighter copes well with aggressive styles.

Beltran was the tough fighter he was expected to be, but it didn’t take long before hesitancy began to seep into his mind as he was increasingly outgunned. Crawford’s footwork and speed was exceptional; he clearly got into the head of Beltran, and clearly wasn’t intimidated by the Mexican’s pressure.

In fact, when Beltran threw all he had on the ropes, Crawford would fire back, reminding his foe that he also carried power. And he certainly did. Beltran has one of the hardest chins in the division, but it was clear he was wary of Crawford’s shots. (Crawford vs Beltran Highlights)

Following Crawford’s hometown victory – which also bagged him the vacant RING title – his unbeaten record now extends to 25 wins, 17 knockouts. Beltran returns to Phoenix with 29 wins, 17 knockouts, 7 losses, and 1 draw.

Once again, Crawford has proven himself a top Lightweight, quality operator, and a fighter who is maybe on his way to entering the Pound for Pound rankings. The future’s bright for the 27-year-old, whether he hangs around Lightweight a little longer, or decides to climb up to 140 pounds to become a two-weight world champion.

Despite being handed a lopsided decision defeat, it wasn’t a bad performance from Beltran. He did all he could against an arguably elite opponent, and simply lost to the better guy. Given his crowd-pleasing, come-forward style, the 33-year-old will no doubt find himself on a big name card before too long. And as long as his opponent isn’t named Crawford, it will likely be a lot more competitive.

In the bout prior, Evgeny Gradovich had to settle for a Split Draw against Jayson Velez, but nevertheless left the ring with his IBF Featherweight title. Ringside judges scored the title defense 114-114, 113-115, and 117-111. Gradovich now stands at 19 wins, 9 knockouts, no losses, 1 draw, and Velez at 22 wins, 16 knockouts, no losses, 1 draw.

What did you think of Crawford vs Beltran? Did this stern test prove Crawford’s legitimacy as an elite fighter? And how many steps has he to climb before finding himself in the Pound for Pound top 10?

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