Former world champion Jose Pedraza enters the ring next Saturday night to fight for a world title, redemption and his native Puerto Rico
Jose Pedraza by many accounts, was a top 25 fighter in the world in early 2017. In 2015 he had captured the IBF Super Featherweight title with a damn near shutout over Andrey Klimov. He would defend his title twice, beating Edner Cherry and Stephen Smith.
Then the Gervonta Davis fight happened. It was a one-sided fight in favor of Davis and Pedraza was left bloodied, undefeated record gone and without his title. His invincibility, pride and career were put to a test.
Finally, after 19 months of agony, heart break and patience, Jose Pedraza will step through the ropes for the biggest fight of his career and redemption, “It feels good to be back at this level especially with a great promoter behind me.” Pedraza is now aligned with Victory Sports Entertainment and most importantly, Top Rank, the leading promoter in boxing, “We were always interested in signing with Top Rank. This time around we had the opportunity to negotiate [sic] them.”
Puerto Rico better be waiting for me and welcome me home as their new World Champion. – Jose Pedraza
The Davis fight isn’t far from his memory but his mind and body have fully recovered, “I am fully recovered from the Davis fight. I just didn’t have the proper focus for that fight.”
On August 25th, Pedraza will stare down Mexican Raymundo Beltran for the WBO Lighweight title at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ. Beltran is riding a six fight winning streak. It will serve as the main event for Top Rank’s ESPN telecast.
Pedraza is committed and determined to prove to the world who the ‘real’ Pedraza is with the Beltran fight, “Expect to see a lot of boxing, pure boxing. And by the end of the fight, expect to see me let my hands go before you see me defeated.”
Pedraza is ready, he’s more focused than ever and he is fighting for more than just himself, “When I win, I’ll be extremely happy. I feel a lot of love from the boxing fans around the world and I appreciate that.” When Pedraza steps through the ropes on Saturday night, he does so alone, figuratively, not mentally, “I fight for my people of Puerto Rico. They need this victory just as much as I do. Puerto Rico better be waiting for me and welcome me home as their new World Champion.”
All photos by Top Rank