Pedraza schools LesPierre, redemption for Ramirez

Puerto Rican stylist Jose Pedraza was too slick and heavy-handed for Mikkel LesPierre scoring two knockdowns en route to a dominant points victory at ‘The Bubble’ in the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, on Thursday night.

Pedraza, a two-time world champion at 130lbs and 135lbs, dropped former WBO 140lbs title challenger LesPierre in the fifth and tenth rounds and generally dazzled the Brooklyn southpaw with his superior skill and artillery. Scores were 100-88 and 99-89 (twice).

The gifted Pedraza (left) won as he pleased against the game LesPierre.
Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.

This 10-rounder at 140lbs was originally scheduled for June 18, but the bout was postponed after LesPierre’s manager tested positive for Covid-19. The win revitalised Pedraza’s hopes of becoming a three-weight champion at 140lbs following a decision loss to Jose Zepeda on the Tyson Fury-Otto Wallin undercard last September. LesPierre drops to 22-2-1, 10 KOs.

Pedraza (left) rebounded strongly after a loss to fellow contender Jose Zepeda last year.
Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.

“Mikkel was a tough opponent, but I stuck to my game plan. I wanted the knockout, but he stayed strong in there. I give him a lot of credit,” said Pedraza  (27-3, 13 KOs). “I would like to fight any of the world champions, but we have to see what happens next. I proved I belong with the top guys in the 140-pound division.”

Pedraza (right) is homing in on a third world title at 140lbs.
Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.

Revenge was sweet for Cuban Golden Boy Robeisy Ramirez (4-1, 3 KOs) as he dictated his rematch with former conqueror Adan Gonzales to prevail widely on the scorecards. All three cards were 60-54. 

Ramirez (right) showed marked improvement from his debut to dominate Gonzales.
Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.

Ramirez, who earned two Olympic golds for Cuba during a glittering amateur career, shockingly lost his debut to Gonzales (5-3-2, 2 KOs) by upset split decision in August 2019. He made no mistakes in the sequel as he builds to an inevitable pro return with Shakur Stevenson who he defeated in the Olympic final in 2016.

“I wanted to put our first fight behind me, and I did that. Ever since our first fight, I wanted the rematch. I am glad this chapter of my career is behind me now,” said Ramirez. “A couple more rounds and I could’ve scored the knockout. But I’ll take the win and continue to work hard on my craft. I have the best trainer in Ismael Salas.”

After a nightmare debut, Ramirez (right) relished his revenge.
Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.

On the undercard, Toledo super-featherweight ‘Prince’ Albert Bell (17-0, 5 KOs) blunted Mark ‘Machete’ Bernaldez over 10 rounds. Judges’ scores were 100-90 (three times).

Dominican puncher Elvis Rodriguez (7-0-1, 7 KOs) knocked out Danny Murray (5-4) with a right hand at 2:17 of the opening round at 140lbs.

Hulking heavyweight Kingsley Ibeh (5-1, 4 KOs) won his second fight in a week, pipping Patrick Mailata (4-1, 2 KOs) via majority decision Scores were 58-56 (twice) and 57-57. 

Featherweight Jose Enrique Vivas (19-1, 10 KOs) rallied strongly to clinch a unanimous decision against Carlos Jackson (16-1, 11 KOs). Vivas won the last three rounds on two cards to claim a 97-93 win from all the judges.