Paulus Moses intends to live up to his moniker, hunts down championship dreams
When Paulus Moses arrived in Los Angeles, California, as a member of Julius Indongo’s entourage, last August, as a chief sparring partner, to help his countryman in the final weeks of preparation for an undisputed junior welterweight championship fight against Terence Crawford, the Namibian boxer didn’t know anything about the opportunity that will bring him back to the United States, six months later.
Only this time, when Team Moses’ aircraft landed on American soil, on February 9, the 39-year-old arrived as a main event fighter on a Top Rank-promoted card that will be televised live tonight on ESPN (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Moses, 40-3 (25), will face, arguably, the most difficult opponent in his 15-year career in Raymundo Beltran, a long-time lightweight contender and two-time challenger, with a fan-friendly fighting style.
Moses and his team of four took on a long journey to arrive in the United States. They left behind Windhoek, Namibia, on February 7, changeing planes in Frankfurt, Germany, and Dallas, Texas, to finally reach Reno, Nevada. The trip lasted roughly 48 hours.
“It’s been a long, two-day flight but I have done it so many times. I am well-rested now and ready for the big fight. I know why I am here and am excited about fighting Beltran in his backyard,” Moses told UCNlive.com recently.
The fighters are squaring off in a 12-round championship fight for the vacant WBO 135-pound title. The belt was vacated by Terry Flanagan, who moved up in weight to the junior welterweight division, where he will fight for the division’s vacant WBO strap, against Maurice Hooker on April 14 in London, England.
Beltran, 34-7-1 (21), is currently ranked No. 1 by the WBO, while Moses stands at No. 2.
Though Moses is fighting on foreign soil against Beltran, situations like this are nothing new to him. The Namibian fighter had to travel to Yokohama, Japan, to face Yusuke Kobori for the WBA “regular” title in 2009. Moses brought the title back to Windhoek, following a unanimous decision victory.
“My life is all about boxing. I wake up, dream, eat and sleep boxing and February 16 will allow me another beautiful day in the office. I am glad the fight is away from home because I also grabbed my first world title away from home. I am more dangerous when I am fighting away from home,” stated Moses.
A match-up on foreign soil against an opponent whose handlers promote the event can sometimes be tricky, when the fight happens to be a close one. Team Moses, however, intends to be positive rgarding the judges delegated to work in the bout.
“We are never worried about the judges, even though judges can surprise you sometimes. We have seen so many blatant and surprising decisions, especially when boxers are fighting away (from home), but we are hoping that they will be fair and consistent and judge in the interest of boxing and not as individuals. Top Rank shared the names of the officials with us before and we agreed to the officials in good faith and we trust they will do a good and fair job on the night,” Nestor Tobias, Moses’s promoter/manager told UCNLive.com.
The Namibian contingent is well aware of the difficulty level of this bout. There is a lot at stake in this fight for both men. As Bill Tibbs has reported recently on UCNlive.com, the Mexican-born Beltran is not only fighting for his first world title but to also secure a green card that could grant him permanent residence in the United States. The soon-to-be 40-year-old Moses, on the other hand, is more than likely, visiting the Last Chance Saloon, regarding a world title opportunity. The narrative is really what makes this contest easy to get caught up in, for boxing fans.
“Look, it’s going to be a tough fight to call because both boxers are very experienced fighters. Both boxers are hungry to secure this title. For Beltran, we know it’s more than just boxing at stake. He will be fighting for his green card to remain in America, so we know he will come all out. As for Moses, boxing has been his entire life and getting his hands on another world title means the world to him. My guy is an experienced contender, who knows what he needs to do to get the job done. I predict a close fight in favor of Moses,” said Tobias.
In terms of styles, this could also be an exciting encounter. Beltran is a well-skilled veteran of the sport, with above-average punching power. Moses is a top-shape athlete who can use distance well to control his counterparts. We have seen Beltran get outboxed before. We also have seen Moses on the floor.
At last, Moses is confident he will live up to his moniker and achieve his dream of winning the WBO title tonight.
“Everybody’s talking about the big punches and (Beltran’s) power but I have that covered. I can take a punch or can make him miss a punch. It is what happens right after that is what he should be worried about because, after all, they call me the ‘Hitman’ for a reason,” said the Namibian pugilist.
The last time Paulus Moses was in the United States, he could not see that the future held a world title opportunity for him. Tomorrow morning we will see if he has become a profound fortune teller.