Pedraza to face Molina in junior welterweight bout

Boxing

Former two-time world champion Jose Pedraza will face Javier Molina in a 10-round junior welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas on Sept. 19. The bout originally was scheduled for May 9 in Fresno, California, on the Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol undercard, but that event was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Top Rank’s Bob Arum said he believes this is the right fight at the right time for the two veterans.

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

Pedraza (27-3, 13 KOs) scored two knockdowns of Mikkel LesPierre in his last bout on July 2. He defeated LesPierre in a wide unanimous decision. It was a solid all-around effort that helped erase the memories of a disappointing effort in his loss to Jose Zepeda in his previous bout last September.

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

Pedraza still harbors dreams of winning a title at 140.

“This fight will bring me even closer to a world title opportunity,” he said. “My goal is to become a three-division world champion.”

Molina (22-2, 9 KOs) is coming off an eight-round decision over Amir Imam in February. Since losing to welterweight contender Jamal James in January 2016, he has moved down to 140 and has strung together five victories.

A win over Pedraza will put the 2008 U.S. Olympian in line for a title shot at junior welterweight in 2021.

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

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