Sunday Sermon: The American Dream
Fighters dream of making it to the upper echelon of the boxing game, especially those from poor, poverty-stricken, countries. They dream of making 6- and 7-figure paydays so their families can live a life full of prosperity and chance. Many never make it, it’s a game of longevity, patience and most of the time, luck. The opportunity, the chance, sometimes it never comes, sometimes it’s missed. But for Jose Pedraza, Ray Beltran and Isaac Dogboe, the grind, the turmoil, have all been rewarded. What they have, what they will accomplish, can never be erased, they are champions, in mind, body and spirit.
“Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment” Psalm 101:5
Pedraza wasn’t given much of a chance, leading up to the fight, not many media outlets were paying much attention to Pedraza. The promotion itself was based on Beltran’s story and him defending his long-awaited title at home, in front of his adoring fans. Pedraza was written off before the fight even started.
And probably for good reason. After the Tank Davis loss, Pedraza was left for dead, dropped from PBC and left with no management. He was left on the shelf for 14 months, no press, no fanfare, no more world title. The pride of Puerto Rico, the Olympian, was put out to pasture after just 1 loss.
Pedraza flipped the script on everyone last night.
Pedraza walked to the ring amid boos and watched as Beltran’s home town fans rose to their feet and saluted it’s champion. Beltran’s fans didn’t have much to cheer for after that moment. Pedraza, from the opening bell, stifled Beltran’s offense with a pistol like jab. He turned Beltran into punches, walked him into counter shots and beat him up in the later rounds. In my mind, there was no doubt when the final bell rang, Pedraza was the winner. Beltran was bloodied, bruised and beaten. It was a virtuoso performance by Jose Pedraza.
Pedraza is king again, the pride of Puerto Rico.
By all accounts, Pedraza will face Vasyl Lomachenko in December for a unification fight. It’s a tall task and once again Pedraza will be overlooked and not given much of a chance. But for Pedraza, it’s what he’s been fighting for his whole life, a chance, an opportunity. Pedraza will have his chance to erase the Davis memory and prove his doubters wrong.
“Persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” Corinthians 4:9
Ray Beltran didn’t lose last night, no way, he’s a winner and his story is much bigger than a boxing match and far more important than a W or L.
Beltran’s rise from obscurity to sparring partner to lovable loser to contender to world champion is what movies are made from. Seriously, Warner Bros should be knocking on front door for the rights. Beltran should be a prime example of why fighters should never give up on their dreams because what he went through to achieve those dreams, had to have felt like a nightmare at times.
And many of those nightmares had nothing to do with boxing, and his biggest wins were won outside of the ring.
Beltran has battled immigration and homeland security for years, a battle more vicious than anything Manny Pacquiao ever hit him with in sparring. The only thing Pedraza took from Beltran was his belt, nothing more in my opinion. With the turnout last night at Gila River Arena, Top Rank can continue to put Beltran on in the Phoenix area against lesser competition and still turn a profit. All while Beltran keeps his residency and his family intact.
Beltran has seen it all, traveled the world and conquered the most hardened tests any one single individual could face. For this he deserves the recognition for always being a champ, inside and outside, the ring. We salute Ray Beltran at Bite Down Boxing.
“Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood” Proverbs 6:17
Dogboe is quietly turning into a star in the United States. After his thrilling knockout of Jessie Magdaleno, Dogboe followed it up with a blistering knockout of Hidenori Otake last night on ESPN and social media was losing its mind on the ferocious nature of the African Super Bantamweight. And for good reason, he’s a dog inside the ropes.
Dogboe’s willingness to trade with opponents and go for the kill is the mixture that turns smaller fighters into overnight sensations. With Top Rank’s ESPN deal, Dogboe is in prime to position to keep the momentum on his budding stardom rolling. A unification bout with Luis Nery would be a great match up for Dogboe next as well as Ray Vargas, depending on which one is easier to make. If neither can be made, Top Rank will continue building his profile with the likes of Franklin Manzanilla and Lodumo Lamati as he racks up knockouts and fans.
It’s good to see Dogboe, a product of Ghana, repping for the great African fighters before him. Will he develop into a bigger star than Ike Quartey or Azumah Nelson? Who knows but the truth is, he’s developing into one of boxing’s most loveable, action-packed fighters and ESPN execs have to be exhilarated that they have his services for the time being.
Dogboe is the goods, get used to the name.