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Jose Pedraza drops Mikkel LesPierre twice in dominant decision win

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank
02
Jul

Former two-division world titleholder Jose Pedraza dominated Mikkel LesPierre, dropping him twice before scoring a unanimous decision victory in “The Bubble” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas tonight. The judges scored it 100-88 and 99-89 twice.

“(Tonight) I was physically fit, I was mentally fit, I was spiritually fit,” said Pedraza after the fight. “I put it all together this evening because I couldn’t afford not to. This is the type of performance you get from me when I’m 100% focused.”

A hard uppercut from Pedraza bloodied LesPierre’s nose in the opening round of their 144-pound catchweight bout. The Puerto Rican veteran showed every punch in the book early on, connecting 46 in the second round alone.

It was high drama in the fifth. About halfway through, LesPierre landed a body shot that dropped and off-balance Pedraza. Less than a minute later, Pedraza landed a straight right, look hook combo that put LesPierre down hard. After the round was completed, Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) officials reviewed the first knockdown and determined that the fighters’ legs got tangled up as Pedraza went down, and then reversed the call.

By the tenth and final round LesPierre, a native of Trinidad and Tobago who now calls Brooklyn home, was busted up pretty bad with multiple cuts on his face. Pedraza scored another knockdown for good measure after landing with a left hook counter to the temple. LesPierre showed incredible toughness and determination, making it to his feet and competing to the final bell.

According to CompuBox, Pedraza landed 168 of 406 total punches (41%), including 44 body connects, to just 69 of 443 (16%) for LesPierre. It was a beautiful offensive display from the former titleholder, who says his goal is the challenge for a junior welterweight title next.

“I’ll take on either of the two champions in this weight class (Josh Taylor, RING, IBF, WBA; and Jose Ramirez, WBC, WBO). I’m a former world champion, but now I’m the challenger. I just want either one of them to give me an opportunity.”

Pedraza-LesPierre, a 144-pound catchweight bout, served as the main event for tonight’s Top Rank on ESPN broadcast. It was originally scheduled for May 9, but was put on the shelf during the global COVID-19 shutdown. When Top Rank announced their “Bubble Series” for the summer, Pedraza and LesPierre were set to fight on June 18. However, the bout was once again delayed when LesPierre’s manager tested positive for COVID-19 the night before the fight.

Michael Montero can be found on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram via @MonteroOnBoxing. His weekly podcast ‘The Neutral Corner’ can be heard on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio and elsewhere.