Jose Pedraza kept on the path to a world title at a third weight with a dominant points win over the outgunned Javier Molina inside the MGM Grand Bubble on Top Rank’s latest bill in Las Vegas on Saturday.
‘Sniper’ has already won world titles at Super Featherweight and Lightweight and secured another assured win at Super Lightweight, following on from his victory over Mikkel LesPierre on July 2, as he looks to gate crash the ten stone title scene.
Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs) began busily here, bouncing on the balls of his feet and utilising an unpredictable style to work his way in.
Molina (22-3, 9 KOs) started off whipping in punches on the counter and patiently waiting behind his jab in what was a relatively quiet first session.
Pedraza, 31, landed some good jabs to begin the second round, coming in and out of range and staying in an orthodox stance without the need to switch styles, as is usually his custom with Molina landing with a solid counter right hand right on the bell.
The Californian grew in confidence, as he edged closer to the target, but his face was swelled from a clash of heads and a nasty cut was sustained by the left eye.
The heads again came together after a doctors’ inspection and this finally allowed the action to heat up.
Pedraza sensed that the cut was bothering his opponent, and he got to work, rushing in and roughing Molina up, which was causing his head movement to become more careless.
The Puerto Rican had settled into a rhythm by the fifth and a change to southpaw seemed to confuse Molina, who was getting picked off with smart combinations.
Molina could not work off his usual counter attack style and was succumbing to Pedraza’s veteran tactics, as the fight went into its second half.
The 30-year-old was chasing shadows and Pedraza stepped on the gas in the seventh, hurting his opponent with a jarring counter right hand that wobbled his legs.
Pedraza coasted to the finish line and was boxing impressively, picking his shots, with Molina was resorting to chasing his foe around the ring without success.
It was a boxing clinic from Pedraza and the result was in no doubt as the contest went to the scorecards.
Scores of 99-91 and 98-92 x2 gave Pedraza a vital win on the way to what he hopes is a title shot in the near future.
’Sniper’ is targeting the two current belt holders, Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez, as well as his last conqueror, as he alluded to in his post-fight interview.
“I was able to wear him [Molina] down, break him down and make him fight my fight” Pedraza told ESPN.
“It was the experience that I’ve had at the top level that helped me finally put it together.
“I’ve had the experience, I’ve had the talent and it’s just on a night like this that I’m happy I could put it all together.
“I do believe I’m ready for a world title opportunity. Whoever [wins] between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez, I want the winner of that fight.
“If for some reason I can’t get a world title shot against them, I do want to respectfully ask Jose Zepeda for the rematch.”
The undercard was headed by the usually exciting Heavyweight prospect, Efe Ajagba (14-0, 11 KOs), but the Nigerian failed to ignite in a dull ten round points win over the limited Jonathan Rice (13-6-1, 9 KOs) on his Top Rank debut.
The action, what there was of it, was slow paced and resembled a sparring session.
In the end, Ajagba, who injured his hand during the bout secured two scores of 99-91 and a third at 98-92.
Double Olympic Gold Medallist, Robeisy Ramirez (5-1, 3 KOs) scored a fifth win on the bounce, with a near shutout win over Felix Caraballo (13-3-2, 9 KOs), who was stopped by Shakur Stevenson in six rounds in June.
The scores in this Featherweight eight rounder read 80-72 twice, and 79-73.
Super Welterweight prospect, Leo Ruiz (8-0, 5 KOs) maintained his unbeaten record with a six round points win against Rodrigo Solis (4-5-1, 2 KOs), whilst
Super Middleweight talent Christian Montano (10-0, 7 KOs) also remained undefeated with a unanimous decision win over Ryan Adams (7-3-1, 6 KOs).
The four rounders saw Lightweight Bryan Lua (6-0, 3 KOs) knock out Luis Norambuena (4-7-1) with a huge left hook in two rounds, whilst 17-year-old Welterweight debutants Jahir Tucker and Kasir Goldston also enjoyed first victories.
Tucker (1-0, 1 KO) stopped Deandre Anderson (1-2) in a round, whilst Goldston (1-0) decisioned Isaiah Varnell (3-3, 2 KOs).