There is no such thing as a bad Hank Lundy fight, and Raymundo Beltran was the perfect dance partner, stylistically. But Beltran was a bit too good substantially, too, and the long-time Manny Pacquiao sparring partner upset Lundy on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights by majority decision.
Lundy, a top 10 lightweight coming in, had a solid 1st, but then, so did Beltran — for all the attention ESPN’s commentators (including guest Zab Judah) were giving Lundy for his skills, Beltran was fighting smartly, cornering Lundy repeatedly and throwing combinations were at least one shot was landing, exactly what a slower, stronger fighter ought to be doing with a quicker one. Beltran edged the 2nd despite beginning to bleed over his eye, and then came the epic 3rd.
The build-up featured Beltran chasing Lundy all around the ring and connecting on meaningful punches, before Lundy took the occasion to do that unique thing he does where he suddenly becomes quite stupid, and then an exciting moment comes. As Lundy foolishly traded along the ropes toward the end of the round and was getting the worst of it, the two exchanged simultaneous left hooks that set both of their knees rattling. Both smiled at each other, touched gloves a second before the bell rang and returned to their corners. You don’t see rounds end like that very often.
Lundy settled down some in the middle rounds and began to use his legs better — perhaps he was suffering from repeated failed attempts to make weight on Thursday before finally getting under 135 — presenting a harder target for Beltran in the center of the ring. But by the late rounds Beltran was again finding Lundy, as he outworked his nimble foe. On Facebook, FNF’s page was registering this fight as a win for Beltran, even as most on Twitter had Lundy ahead or a draw, as I scored it. With Lundy’s CES promoting the fight, every expectation was that the judges would go with the home team.
But judges like aggression, too, and Beltran always was the aggressor. One judge had it a draw; two had it 96-94 for Beltran. Lundy suffers a setback at a time when he was hoping to graduate from the FNF level, possibly to an Adrien Broner fight, but from a fan’s standpoint, we’re almost better off — Lundy makes our Friday nights that much brighter, and performances like this and others suggest that if Lundy even can graduate, he’ll need to improve his overall game quite a bit. The victory turns Beltran into a new player on the lightweight scene and gives him the win of his career, as he has usually lost to anyone of acclaim, like Luis Ramos, Jr. and Sharif Bogere.
On the televised undercard bout, super middleweight Farah Ennis mostly dominated an anemic Richard Pierson, who had moments of counterpunching success (notably in the 5th, when he nearly decked Ennis) but didn’t do nearly enough, perhaps because Ennis was doing a lot of damage to his face and making him reluctant to fire. Ennis showed he could take a shot and boxed reasonably well, but also didn’t dazzle.
Overall, if not Beltran, the star of the night might’ve been a dude in a wifebeater in the audience who was chewing up scenery.