As Top Rank’s Carl Moretti revealed late last month, former two-division champion Jose Pedraza will meet rising prospect Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez on ESPN’s June 12th Shakur Stevenson vs Jeremiah Nakathila card.
JUST ANNOUNCED— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 13, 2021
A major Junior Welterweight co-feature clash and the return of one of boxing’s brightest prospects are added to a big bill kicking off our June run at @VirginHotelsLV. More to come ...#StevensonNakathila | JUNE 12 | ESPN & ESPN+ pic.twitter.com/MYU1gaXHrN
Puerto Rican young gun Xander Zayas will be in action as well against TBA.
Pedraza (28-3, 13 KO) enjoyed a strong 2020 after losing his super lightweight debut against Jose Zepeda, dominating former title challenger Mikkel LesPierre and Javier Molina in quick succession. Still just 32, “Sniper” has designs on another shot at the title.
“It has been almost a year without fighting. I can’t wait to get back in the ring, to bring home another win that will bring happiness to my people,” Pedraza said. “I like that this fight is against a hungry contender like Julian Rodriguez. I always like the idea of facing the best opponents because they bring the best out of me. I know that with a big win on June 12, I will get closer to a world title shot. That’s what we are fighting for.”
Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KO) has stopped four of five since a three-decision streak and subsequent 22-month absence, needing just four rounds to dispatch Anthony Laureano and Jose Lopez during his 2020 campaign. Pedraza represents a considerable step up in class for the 26-year-old, so I admire his chutzpah.
Rodriguez said, “I know what I bring to the table. There’s not one thing in his arsenal that’s sharper than mine. He brings the experience, but he’s been broken a few times. This opportunity is a long time coming. I’m focused. It’s hard to look at my two children and not be determined to go in there and break that guy’s ribs.”