Jose Pedraza won titles at 130 and 135, but his move up to 140 tonight against Jose Zepeda didn’t go as he hoped, with Zepeda winning a decision over 10 rounds to keep himself in contention in the junior welterweight division.
Zepeda (31-2, 25 KO) has had a pair of title shots in his career, losing a fluky title bout at 135 against Terry Flanagan in 2015 due to an injury, and then he lost a tight majority decision to Jose Ramirez in February of this year. But it was clear against Ramirez, in particular, that Zepeda was no joke, a crafty southpaw with some pop, so Pedraza moving up to face this guy was a real risk.
Zepeda, 30, started fast and built a lead in the early rounds, but the 30-year-old Pedraza did work his way back into the fight, at least a little bit. In the end, it wasn’t enough. Zepeda ultimately marked up the Puerto Rican pretty good and earned the decision win on scores of 97-93 across the board. Bad Left Hook had it 96-94 and 97-93 for Zepeda.
Asked after the fight what he wants to do next, Zepeda said he’d like to rematch Jose Ramirez, who now holds the WBC and WBO titles at 140. That seems unlikely, because Ramirez is currently on the shelf for a bit, and at the moment — with both belts still in his possession — he’s got two mandatory challengers in Viktor Postol (WBC) and Jack Catterall (WBO). But we’ll see. Again, Zepeda stays in the mix with the win, which is the main thing.
As for Pedraza (26-3, 13 KO), he’ll have to figure out what’s next. If he can still make 135, he might be better off there. If not, things could get tough for him, because this performance obviously opens serious doubts that he can really compete at the top at 140.