This, for all intents and purposes, was a crossroads fight of sorts, with the veteran facing the prospects of mediocrity in his options at 140 lbs., versus a young buck who was receiving his very first shot against a Championship caliber fighter, and the winner would open some major doors at this point in their careers. Tonight, it was 🇵🇷Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (29-3-0, 14KO) continuing his brilliant streak he’s been on in the last three outings. Jersey hopeful 🇺🇸Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez (21-1-0, 14KO) was proven to be too green for the seasoned Puerto Rican fighter, and was outclassed through 8 rounds, before retiring on his stool.
Rodriguez early on flashed the handspeed, while Pedraza was bouncing, and moving, looking to analyze the speed, and the punching power on the forearms as he picked most of the early punches off. Pedraza shifted his attack, using his experience and giving Rodriguez multiple looks, countering with the sharp right hand from mid distance, and standing his ground more, pushing the action.
There was an inadvertent thumb to Rodriguez right eye that caused heavy swelling all the way around. Rodriguez, if he has any weakness, is a very stationary target with plodding footwork, and early, Pedraza took advantage of it by catching him off balance, moving off the jab, and doing his damage before Julian got any chance to open up.
A heavy dose of jabs from Pedraza were utilized in the 4th round to offset the younger fighters rhythm. Occasionally, Jose Pedraza would touch him to the body with the jab to keep him honest, and second guessing his own movement. Rodriguez wanted to get off, but his wider punch delivery system was all wrong for Pedraza, who did his work up the middle, with the 1-2.
Pedraza by round 5 switched to southpaw, and continued to find ways to nullify what Rodriguez wanted to do. Through the whole fight, it was an example of a solid young fighter being a little too green for the big time fighters. It’s easy to say when an opportunity comes too soon, but given that it has to be fully contextualized, we won’t put that tag on him, but certainly, Pedraza had too much in his toolbox for the young Rodriguez to deal with throughout 8 rounds.
By this point, Rodriguez left eye had fully closed up, and in the corner being worked on by legendary Cutman Stitch Duran, Rodriguez winced in pain as he was working on the fully closed eye. After a discussion in the corner between him and his people, Rodriguez would retire on the stool, and Jose Pedraza picked up the much needed win, We believe in these last 3 fights, this is the best version of Pedraza we’ve seen in his career. How long can he keep this form up? not sure, but this Pedraza can make things very interesting in this division.