FightPost Boxer of the Week: Jose Pedraza
By Gary Kittilsen
“The Sniper” Jose Pedraza was itching to get back into the ring after a disappointing loss to Jose Zepeda in Las Vegas last year.
It was Pedraza’s second loss in nine months and it dropped him out of the title picture at 140. A division stacked with talented A-level fighters but only two belt holders.
Pedraza needed an A+ type performance to make himself relevant at 140 and get himself a big money fight. He did just that on Thursday night at the MGM Grand’s Bubble in Las Vegas, against a difficult and game opponent in Mikkel Les Pierre.
Les Pierre challenged for a world title in 2019 in going the distance against Maurice Hooker back in March of that year. The Sniper dominated all 10 rounds, scored two knockdowns, and secured both the lopsided unanimous decision victory as well as our Fighter of the Week award.
Entering the ring Pedraza knew he needed a big-time performance to keep himself in the title picture and he got to work quickly Dominating the opening round from long-range and pressing the overmatched Les Pierre back into the ropes and making him pay with head-snapping uppercuts.
The second round was even more dominant than the first as Pedraza again drove his opponent into the ropes with a straight left hand and then unleashed a 15-second barrage of power shots as Les Pierre covered up against the ropes. Les Pierre somehow made it through the round.
However, it wasn’t going to get any better for Les Pierre, who was thoroughly dominated throughout the remainder of the fight, he was dropped in the fifth with a straight left followed by a right hook and was dropped again in the final round with a picture-perfect right hook and was nearly finished off with yet another barrage of power shots from the Puerto Rican.
Les Pierre courageously made into the finish line but the scorecards represented just how lopsided the fight was. Pedraza took the decision by scores of 100-88, and 99-89(twice), running his record to 27-3.
After the fight, Pedraza said:
“I entered the conversation for a world title and understand that I got a little closer to the opportunity. My body is better adapted to 140 pounds, I lacked a little more muscle mass, which is what I was looking for without losing any agility. I did well and I hope to fight again in about two months,
There’s no question that Pedraza has his sights set on another world title and becoming a part of an elite group of fighters to win titles in three different weight classes. Pedraza is signed with Top Rank as is unified WBO/WBC Jr welterweight champ Jose Carlos Ramirez, who will likely have to get past former world champ Viktor Postol in a mandatory defense.
If he does it could easily set up a Ramirez vs Pedraza showdown that would be a massive payday for Pedraza and would be another exciting chapter in the famed Puerto Rico vs Mexico rivalry. If that fight can’t be made the other junior-welterweight titleholder, Josh Taylor, is also on the Top Rank side of the promotional street.
There are also plenty of intriguing non-title options on the Top Rank side as well. A showdown with Alex Saucedo would be an all-action fan-friendly affair as would a rematch with Jose Zepeda should Zepeda get past Kendo Castaneda this week.
There’s no shortage of good fights for the Puerto Rican 140-pounder and given the Pedraza’s exceptional performance he has put himself in position to score one of those big names in a big-money fight.