Namibia’s Paulus Moses gave a valiant effort, but fell short to new WBO World lightweight champion Ray Beltran, who won his first world title via twelve-round unanimous decision in a thrilling affair.
Sadly, in a scene that is becoming all-too familiar, the scorecards didn’t reflect the action in the ring. One judge had it 116-112 while the other two turned in 117-111 tallies. BoxingAfrica.com scored it 115-113 for Beltran. Opinions on social media ranged from a close win for Beltran to a draw.
Based on the actual scoring, Moses’ only shot at victory coming in was a KO. Despite the loss, the 39-year-old wonder can hold up his head high following a performance that will surely land him another major fight.
Beltran took control of the ring space in the first, backing Moses up and working the body.
He continued to come forward in the second, but toward the end of the stanza, Moses found the range for his jab and straight right, landing the latter moments before the bell rang.
They fought on even terms in the third and fourth. The crowd in Reno, Nevada’s Grand Sierra Resort & Casino Reno wore nervous looks as Moses’ right opened a cut over Beltran’s left eye. Most came in support of the 36-year-old Beltran, who was not only fighting for a world title for a fourth (and probably, final) time, but for an EB-1 green card, which provides permanent residence status for those considered to be an “exceptional athlete.”
A world title would assure Beltran of obtaining that status. Moses didn’t make it easy. The Namibian was now dictating the action, working the jab and walking Beltran into stiff rights. On the inside, he matched the 35-1 betting favorite punch for punch.
Moses carried the action as they headed toward the championship rounds. A booming right in the ninth caused Beltran’s knees to dip. The Mexican stumbled back to the ropes and covered up. He had fully recovered by the end of the round, however, landing his own right upstairs and several more to the ribcage.
Moses began showing his age in the 10th. Beltran expedited that process with a dedicated body attack. The Mexican was busier and landed more down the stretch as Moses fatigued. He won the final three rounds on all three cards.
Based on the prior nine rounds, most expected a close decision. That was not the case. Nevertheless, in a fight like this, there are no real losers, neither the boxers nor the fans. One can only hope that the sport does right by Moses and, if they don’t grant him an immediate rematch, afford him the opportunity to work his way back up to one.