Can Jose Pedraza Overcome Fatigue From Training In A New Division?

The past few months have been stressful for Jose Pedraza. His body still adjusting to the super-lightweight division, the former IBF Junior-Lightweight and WBO Lightweight Champion is trying to find the perfect balance when it comes to training.

Pedraza (26-3) spoke with Boxing Scene about his journey within a new division. He believes he over-trained for his debut fight against Jose Zepeda. As he was preparing for future fights, the coronavirus pandemic forced him to do less than what he wanted. He had to adapt any way he could.

“I was able to do about 20 rounds of sparring before the lockdown started in Puerto Rico [in mid-March],” Pedraza stated. “And after that, I didn’t do much sparring. I just focused on my cardiovascular work and doing mitts with my father/trainer.”

The 31-year-old made his debut in the division against Zepeda in September. He ended up losing via unanimous decision. It was four months after his WBO Latino Lightweight Title fight against Antonio Lozada Torres following months away from the ring. He beat Raymundo Beltran in August 2018 for the WBO Lightweight Title before losing it to Vasiliy Lomachenko in December of that year. The 31-year-old rebounded with a TKO win over Antonio Lozada Jr. before losing to Zepeda.

Pedraza must now focus on Mikkel LesPierre. Competing in the main event of Top Rank’s MGM Grand Conference Center, Pedraza is excited for the next chapter of his story. LesPierre (22-1-1) is coming off of a win against Roody Pierre Paul in December. He is 2-1 in his last three fights.

Recently, Nevada opened up gyms and arenas, resulting in the Nevada Athletic Commission lifting the ban on combat sports. With the announcement of the fight being only a few weeks ago, one would think Pedraza needed more time to prepare. While he admits the struggles of training under the new normal, he believes his skills, which include 13 wins via knockout, can help him.

“It has been a little bit difficult because we had to adjust to the new reality,” Pedraza went on to say. “But we have experience on our side, and I know what I have to do to get ready for a fight. So, I’ve been making adjustments. I say it’s difficult because we have not been able to use the gym or have sparring partners. But like I said, we have the experience on our side. We know what we have to do.

“What I’ve been doing mostly is a lot of mitts in my house, a lot of running through the mountains in my [hometown]. And that’s been great, a lot of cardiovascular work. That’s basically what we’ve been doing, but taking that into consideration, I feel that I have had good preparation for this fight.”

The main card for the Pedraza v. LesPierre fight begins tonight, June 18 at 8 p.m., exclusively on ESPN.

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