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Pedraza floors Beltran in round 11, wins WBO title

Photo by MWilliams/Top Rank
Photo by MWilliams/Top Rank

By John J. Raspanti


To the disappointment of virtually everyone at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona Saturday night, Jose Pedraza scored a dramatic 11th round knockdown over defending WBO lightweight champion Ray Beltran to secure a 12-round unanimous decision victory.

 

The scores were 117-110 (twice) and 115-112.

 

In the opening stanza, both fighters landed solid jabs. Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs) went to the head and body. Beltran, hoping to defend his newly won world tile for the first time, clipped Pedraza with a left hook at the bell. Pedraza,29, switched to southpaw in round two. He found Beltran’s chin with a solid left and right. Beltran, with blood streaming from a cut on the side of his left eye, kept forcing the action, but it was Pedraza who was landing the more significant punches.

 

Pedraza, who held the IBF super featherweight title before being stopped by Gervonta Davis last year, continued to use his advantage in reach to stab Beltran with jabs in rounds three and four. Beltran (35-8, 21 KOs) dug to the body, Pedraza knocked Beltran back a step with a left hand. Beltran picked up the pace. He went downstairs and seconds later, landed a right hook to the jaw. Pedraza bobbed and weaved but ate a couple more blows.

 

Beltran,37, landed a solid right hand, Pedraza moved to his left, but didn’t punch very much. He did connect with a right hear the end of the round, but Beltran appeared to have the edge.

 

The fight was up for grabs entering the sixth round. Pedraza was boxing well, but Beltran had reestablished himself in rounds four and five. His inside work was effective.Beltran landed a right to the bread basket while Pedraza forced Beltran to the ropes and connected with a clean combination. . 

 

Pedraza went back to boxing in round seven. He bounced and moved to his right. Beltran ate three to land one. That one was a hard-left hook. Beltran connected with two right hands in round eight. Pedraza came back with a left and right hook to the face.

 

 

 


Pedraza went back to boxing in round seven. He bounced and moved to his right. Beltran ate three to land one. That one was a hard-left hook. Beltran connected with two right hands in round eight. Pedraza came back with a left and right hook to the face.

 

Both fighters landed shots in round nine. Pedraza had found his second wind and was doing well—until he ran into a right hand. Beltran forced his way inside, but Pedraza appeared to win that heat.

 

Rounds 10 was just as competitive and close as the previous nine. Pedraza nailed Beltran with a crisp shot to the gut. Beltran found a seam and caught Pedraza. Beltran bulled his way inside and fired shots downstairs. Beltran appeared to be in control in round 11 until a perfectly placed uppercut sent him to the canvas. Beltran got up with a shocked look on his face. He fought back, but it was Pedraza who was now in control.  

 

Beltran tried to make something happen in the last heat, but Pedraza was fighting confidently. His faster hands were driving Beltran nuts. Beltran threw his left hook but missed.  With 10 seconds to go in the fight, Pedraza let his hands go to seal the deal. Beltran wobbled but stayed upright  

 

“We followed the game plan,” said the elated Pedraza. “We knew Ray Beltran was tough but I was able to stick to my game plan.”

 

Pedraza will likely face WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko in Decemeber. 

 



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