When the bell rings tonight at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, José “Sniper” Pedraza assures that all the pressure will be on his opponent, former 140-pound world champion José Ramírez.
The Mexican-American will face the Puerto Rican but with his mindset on the future. He has to defeat Pedraza to aspire to a rematch with Scotsman Josh Taylor, who last May snatched the undefeated and the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight titles from him. In addition, Ramírez will step into the ring in his hometown.
The 32-year-old from Cidreno is sure that he will be successful to get closer to a starting opportunity at 140 pounds.
On Thursday, Pedraza stopped the scale at 140 pounds, while Ramirez weighed in at 139.8. The event will be broadcast on the ESPN+ app.
“(Ramirez) He lost in his last unifying fight with Taylor. By picking a fight with me, I can fight like Taylor fought. I think it could have been a desperate decision for wanting to retake their titles. Also, he fights at home. He’s under a lot of pressure for all those reasons. He wants to look good coming off a loss. He chose a complicated opponent and I think the play could go wrong,” Pedraza told El Nuevo Día.
“The pressure is always on both sides, but this time he has more pressure. All the pressure is on your side. In my case, I am fighting in someone else’s house, things that I am used to. But there is always some pressure. It is a mental game and as it comes from a loss this fight will be strategically more mental, “he added.
Pedraza (29-3, 14 KOs), recovered from a COVID-19 infection that delayed the fight for a month, is going to his fifth fight in that division, with a 3-1 record. On his resume, he has world titles at 130 and 135 pounds. Beating Ramírez would bring him closer to the dream of adding a third crown in a different division. If successful, he will join an exclusive club of Puerto Ricans with three world titles or more in different divisions. Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gómez, Félix “Tito” Trinidad and Miguel Cotto head the list.
“Since I went up to 140 there has been talking of this (fighting for a title in the weight). It’s all up to Taylor, whether he goes up to 147 pounds or stays. No matter what he does, I’m sure I’m going to get closer to a world title fight (if he wins). If it goes up to 147, I would have more opportunities (because the belts are vacant)”, declared Pedraza.