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Jose Pedraza wants to be a three-weight world champion

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Former two-weight world champion Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza 27-3 (13) will take on 2008 US Olympian Javier ‘El Intocable’ Molina 22-2 (9) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday night.

Pedraza won the vacant IBF super featherweight title against Andrey Klimov fight years ago and made two title defences before losing his strap to Gervonta Davis in 2017.

The following year Pedraza lifter the WBO lightweight title from Raymundo Beltran by 12-round unanimous decision. He lost the championship on points in a unification bout with pound-for-pound level fighter Vasiliy Lomachenko in his next fight.

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The 31-year-old Puerto Rican is targeting a third world title belt in the junior welterweight division to add to his collection.

“I’ve been looking for a fight against Javier Molina for a long time,” Pedraza said.

“I also had him on my radar because we were supposed to fight earlier this year, but the whole situation with the pandemic changed those plans and the fight was postponed.

“I kept training hard to keep improving and I ended up fighting against another opponent and had a great performance.

“This fight will bring me even closer to a world title opportunity. My goal is to become a three-division world champion and Javier Molina will not stop me from achieving my dream.”

Pedraza had an inauspicious debut in the 140-pound weight class when he lost a decision to Jose Zepeda last September but dominated Mikkel LesPierre over 10-rounds in his last outing at the MGM Grand two months ago.

“Pedraza and Molina asked us for a meaningful fight, and we believe the winner is in excellent position for a world title opportunity,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

The 30-year-old Molina of Los Angeles has gone 4-0 since signing with Top Rank in early 2019, reviving a career that stalled following a pair of decision defeats.

Last November, he knocked out the normally durable Hiroki Okada in 65 seconds. He followed up the Okada KO with an upset victory over Amir Imam in February on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury II undercard.

Pedraza and Molina were scheduled to fight on the Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol undercard on May 9, but the event was scrapped due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The Ramirez-Postol bout finally happened August 29, and now Pedraza and Molina will headline a show of their own.

“Going into this year, I had big expectations for myself,” Molina said. “I know what I’m capable of, and I’m here to make a statement against Pedraza.

“I haven’t received the respect or recognition I feel I deserve but getting a win over Pedraza will put my name out there. It’s a huge opportunity, and I plan on taking advantage of it.”

Pedraza-Molina will headline a night of fights live on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30pm ET, with the co-feature set to begin at approximately 10pm ET.

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