Jose Pedraza v. Julian Rodriguez on June 12 at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas theater
LAS VEGAS (May 13, 2021) – Former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza has set his sights on another title. Pedraza, of Cidra, Puerto Rico, will face undefeated Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez in a 10-round junior welterweight tilt on Saturday, June 12 at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas theater.
Pedraza-Rodriguez will serve as the co-feature in the interim WBO junior lightweight title fight between Shakur Stevenson and Jeremiah Nakathila. Both fights will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN +) at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
The Undercard will feature the return of undefeated Puerto Rican welterweight prodigy Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs) in a six-round bout. Zayas just won a first round knockout on April 24 in Kissimmee, Fla.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets priced at $ 200, $ 100, $ 75 and $ 50 go on sale Friday, May 14 at 12 p.m. PT, and can be purchased by visiting Etix.com.
“This is a classic match with a former world champion in Pedraza against a youngster in Rodriguez, who is eager to prove he belongs at the world level,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I’m also delighted to see Xander Zayas, who has grown so much as a young man and a fighter since Top Rank signed him at 16.
Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs) is 2-1 since moving from lightweight, where he won the WBO world title against Ray Beltran before falling short in a unification game against Vasiliy. Lomachenko. He had an inauspicious junior welterweight start when he lost a one-sided decision to Jose “Chon” Zepeda, but he has since landed unanimous decisions over Mikkel LesPierre and Javier Molina. Ranked No.6 by the WBO, Pedraza is hoping that a victory over Rodriguez will lead to another crack in world title glory.
“It’s been almost a year without a fight. I can’t wait to get back in the ring, to get another victory that will bring happiness to my people, ”said Pedraza. “I love that this fight is against a starving suitor like Julian Rodriguez. I always like the idea of playing against the best opponents because they bring out the best in me. I know that with a big win on June 12th, I’ll be getting closer to a world title shot. This is what we are fighting for.
Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), of Bergen County, New Jersey, turned pro in 2013 following a rich amateur career that included a Golden Gloves national title in 2013 and wins over the former world champion Robert Easter Jr. He’s 5-0 with four knockouts since returning from a nearly two-year layoff in July 2019, including a first-round knockout last August over undefeated Anthony Laureano before. Rodriguez has long called for an intensive fight, and if he defeats Pedraza, he will immediately enter the ranks of the top contenders at 140 pounds.
Rodriguez said: “I know what I bring to the table. There is nothing in his arsenal that is sharper than mine. He brings the experience, but he has been broken many times. This opportunity is long in coming. I am concentrated. It’s hard to watch my two kids and not be determined to go out there and break this guy’s ribs.