Jose Ramirez vs. Jose Pedraza fight prediction, undercard, odds, start time, how to watch, live stream


In the 10 months since suffering his first defeat against Josh Taylor in their undisputed championship duel at 140 pounds, former unified titleholder Jose Ramirez has undergone a plethora of self-discovery.  

Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs), who was dropped twice in a close decision defeat last May, believes he has figured out the necessary adjustments to make in order to fuel up for another run at a junior welterweight world title. And luckily for boxing fans, the proud native of California’s Central Valley isn’t in need of a soft touch to test himself first.  

Instead, the 29-year-old Ramirez is headed back to the deep end of the pool on Friday when he returns home to Fresno to headline a 12-round test against former two-division champion Jose Pedraza (29-3, 14 KOs) at Save Mart Arena (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+). 

“My goal is to stay at the highest level of competition, my goal is to become a world champion again,” Pedraza said at Wednesday’s final press conference. “You have to fight the best to be ready for those fights. I don’t want any easy fights. I don’t want to be fighting fights that are going to be tune-up fights.” 

The timing for Ramirez’s return is interesting in that it comes exactly one week after Taylor struggled to a split-decision win over mandatory opponent Jack Catterall in a fight that most observers felt Taylor, who was dropped and cut, had clearly lost. After the bout, Taylor leaned toward vacating his four titles in order to move up to welterweight, leaving the top of the division wide open again.

Enter Ramirez, who not only regularly packs crowds of over 12,000 each time he fights in Fresno but still has the division’s best resume after Taylor, including consecutive victories over Amir Imam, Antonio Orozco, Jose Zepeda, Maurice Hooker and Viktor Postol.  

“The biggest thing that I learned from myself when I faced Josh Taylor is that the only person that can defeat me is my own self,” Ramirez said. “I feel like that’s a fight that I lost. I don’t believe he beat me because he’s the better fighter. That fight I lost because I wasn’t at my best, mentally and physically. I learned to accept it, and I want to earn the shot at the titles with my actions. I hope to show the best of my abilities on Friday.” 
 
The task of retracing his steps back into title contention gets no easier with someone as skilled and crafty as the southpaw Pedraza, a native of Puerto Rico who is aptly nicknamed “Sniper,” standing in front of him.  

Pedraza, 32, has won three straight since a competitive 2019 loss to Zepeda and is not far removed from giving former unified lightweight champion and pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko all he could handle in an exciting 2018 title bout at 135 pounds that the wide scores in favor of Lomachenko did nothing to accurately describe how competitive it was.

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Ramirez has given Pedraza his respect throughout the promotion of the fight and certainly knows how dangerous his opponent can be, even if boxing’s oddsmakers have installed Ramirez as high as a 6-1 betting favorite.  

“I’m used to it by now,” Pedraza said about being overlooked. “These are things that happen in boxing. I only believe in the hard work and the training that I did and in my ability.” 

Ramirez has relived the Taylor fight enough to know there were legitimate mistakes made in both his technique and demeanor which allowed Taylor to score the pair of knockdowns which ultimately made the difference for the judges (114-112 on all three scorecards).

“I feel hungry,” Ramirez said. “I feel like the Jose Ramirez that got his opportunity in 2018 and became world champion for the first time. I just want it back.”

The undercard fills out decently for this California event as well. Former WBO titleholder Joet Gonzalez is back when he takes on Jeo Santisima at featherweight. Gonzalez is coming off losses in two of his last three against Emanuel Navarrete and Shakur Stevenson. Plus, Gabriel Flores Jr. returns to take on Abraham Montoya in a super featherweight contest.

“There’s definitely another title shot [in my future]. I work hard, and I see myself as one of the [top featherweights]. I fought Navarrete. I fought Stevenson. Top fighters. They’re not just no regular champions,” Gonzalez said during the final press conference. “I put on a great performance in my last fight, came up a little short. I’m ready to get back in there against the best.”

Below is the complete fight card for Friday night in Fresno before we get to a prediction and pick on the main event.

Ramirez vs. Pedraza card, odds

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

Jose Ramirez -575

Jose Pedraza +425

Junior welterweight

Joet Gonzalez -650

Jeo Santisima +475

Featherweight

Gabriel Flores Jr. -330

Abraham Montoya +260

Super featherweight

Prediction 

Given his technical yet aggressive style of straight-ahead boxing, it’s hard to imagine a Ramirez fight that isn’t exciting. Pedraza’s equally daring style should make this one no different, especially given their natural contrast in styles with Pedraza being the natural counter puncher who, like Ramirez, isn’t afraid to operate at close distance.  

Even though Ramirez is a bit fresher of the two fighters, the wide odds fail to tell the story of just how game Pedraza still is. What they do indicate, however, is that Pedraza hasn’t proven to be the same type of puncher at 140 pounds that he was in the lower weight divisions. He’s also not nearly as busy as Ramirez, which ultimately should be the difference.  

Look for Ramirez to attack the body but do so in a much more calculated manner than he did against Taylor. Barring any kind of strategic mishap, this one should be both fun and go the distance as Ramirez reclaims his name among the elite fighters at junior welterweight.  

Pick: Ramirez via UD12 





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