Scott Christ (56-28)
My head says Pedraza will nick a decision here, sort of the way Robert Easter did against Commey in 2016. Commey can be out-boxed, and Pedraza is a good, smart boxer. He’s going to come in here knowing he doesn’t want to get into exchanges with Commey, who has a terrific right hand.
But my heart says Commey, and I’m going to follow it. I think this is a fight where the Ghanaian may find himself down on the cards before doing some damage and forcing a referee stoppage. I also expect a pretty good fight, a nice clash of styles where both guys do what they do, Pedraza showing some class boxing in some rounds, and Commey proving his power in others. Commey TKO-7Pedra
Wil Esco (65-19)
Here we have two fighters coming off a loss as well as two fighters heading down the back stretch of their respective careers. Judging a fighter’s current form can be a difficult thing because there’s often so much time in between fights where a lot can happen, but my general inclination is to believe that Jose Pedraza is the sharper fighter of the two at the current moment.
I could turn out to be wrong and maybe Commey does some damage, but he was thoroughly dominated by Vasiliy Lomachenko last time out while Pedraza at least had the better showing against Jose Ramirez. I think Pedraza will be a little better suited to win this fight at junior welterweight, and will take him to win a decision over the distance. Pedraza UD-10
John Hansen (63-21)
I think we’re in for a good fight here, and I’m expecting a fun show. These guys are entertaining, durable, and well matched. And, given their ages, they’re both facing an unfortunate turning point if they lose this fight.
I’ve said before that anyone who wagers actual money based on my picks and analysis is making such a poor decision that I can’t even feel bad for them when they lose it. They’d probably do something even stupider with that money if they kept it, and maybe get themselves hurt. Even with that as my permanent disclaimer, this fight is one where I could probably come up with ten equally likely stories about how things might play out.
Best guess? I keep thinking about Pedraza getting badly hurt against Tank Davis but still hanging in close. And I remember Commey’s history as a stopper, even against some credible opponents who’d never been knocked out before. So, I’ll roll with that combo, and guess that Commey gets a late knockout against a game, brave Pedraza who gets in trouble and either can’t or won’t clutch and run long enough to hear a decision. Commey TKO-9
Patrick Stumberg (67-17)
As always, my heart is with Richard Commey, who does have a legitimate shot here. Pedraza gets backed to the ropes way too easily, and a puncher of Commey’s caliber doesn’t need a whole lot of those opportunities to end things in dramatic fashion. Unfortunately, my head says Pedraza, and I’m too attached to my current staff picks lead to ignore it.
It really just comes down to Commey’s lack of nuance in his pressure. Ramirez is the much more versatile and technically sound pursuer, both in terms of his movement and the crispness of his combinations, and Pedraza still gave him everything he could handle. Pedraza should have an easier time outmaneuvering Commey, whose loaded-up bombs will provide plenty of opportunities to slip away and re-engage on Pedraza’s terms. Much as I’d love to see Commey’s right hand take “Sniper’s” head off, Pedraza’s footwork and cleaner combos should carry him to a competitive victory. Pedraza UD-10