Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) will fight Mikkel LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) in a junior welterweight battle on Thursday, headlining the Top Rank Boxing card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Jamel Herring’s WBO junior lightweight title defense against Jonathan Oquendo was going to be the main event of the evening but the fight had to be postponed because Herring tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
“Mikkel and Jose deserve this opportunity, and I commend both camps for agreeing to reschedule this fight on short notice,” Top Rank Boxing chairman Bob Arum said.
Jose Pedraza vs. Mikkel LesPierre
Thursday, July 2, 2020 – 07:05 PM EDT
*editor’s update: at the day of the fight July 2nd, the line for Pedraza currently stands at -950 at 5Dimes
Pedraza-LesPierre was originally scheduled as the main event on June 18th before LesPierre’s manager tested positive for COVID-19 leading up to the bout. The new Top Rank Boxing guidelines restrict fighters from other promotion companies from bringing their manager to a bout in the bubble.
Jose Pedraza won world titles as a junior lightweight and lightweight and now he will go after the super lightweight title once again.
Pedraza challenged Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBC United States (USNBC) super light title and he lost via unanimous decision at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on September 14th.
“I didn’t want to wait around for this fight, so I’m glad we got the deal done,” Pedraza said. “My march toward a junior welterweight world title continues July 2 in Las Vegas.”
Born: May 8th, 1989
Country: Puerto Rico
Division: Super light
Record: 26-3 (13 KOs)
44.83 KO percentage
Mikkel LesPierre challenged Maurice Hooker for the WBO World super light title and dropped a unanimous decision at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona on March 9th, 2019.
LesPierre then beat Roody Pierre Paul via unanimous decision at Terminal 5 in New York on December 5th, 2019. The 35-year-old lives in Brooklyn and he’s been receiving deliveries and assisting doctors and nurses at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in Manhattan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to thank Top Rank and DiBella Entertainment for making this fight happen through the trials and tribulations,” LesPierre said. “I’m honored to be the main event on July 2, and I am ready to showcase my talent to the world and prove my world championship caliber.”
Born: March 5th, 1985
Country: United States
Division: Super light
Record: 22-1-1 (10 KOs)
41.67 KO percentage
Jose Pedraza is just 31 years old but it is hard not to wonder if he’s already past the prime of his career. Pedraza lost to Zepeda clearly. Also, Vasiliy Lomachenko dominated him on the cards at Madison Square Garden Theater on December 8th, 2018 in a WBA Super world light title and WBO World light title bout.
That said, he is still a capable technician and Mikkel LesPierre is underrated. Will these fighters be in top shape on Thursday? LesPierre lasted all 12 rounds in a valiant effort against a knockout specialist like Maurice Hooker. This should be a great fight. I’m taking the Over.