By: Kirk Jackson
Former two-division world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (29-5-1, 14 KO’s) returns to action to take on rising star Keyshawn Davis (9-0, 6 KO’s) on Thursday, Feb. 8 at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Davis-Pedraza will serve as the co-feature to the junior welterweight showdown between WBO and Ring Magazine world champion Teofimo Lopez (20-1, 13 KO’s) and Jamaine Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 KO’s).
Pedraza first tasted world championship glory, capturing the IBF junior lightweight world title against Andrey Klimov in June 2015 and made two successful title defenses, prior to losing to Abdul Wahid (29-0, 27 KO’s) [at the time known as Gervonta Davis] on Jan 14, 2017.
Pedraza then became a two-division champion by defeating Rey Beltran to earn the WBO lightweight world title in August 2018.
After losing his WBO lightweight title in a unification showdown against Vasiliy Lomachenko, he moved up to 140 pounds, where he waged tough battles against Jose Zepeda, Jose Ramirez, Richard Commey, Lindolfo Delgado and Arnold Barboza Jr.
It’s been a tough run, but “The Sniper” hopes for another world title opportunity as he returns to the lightweight division.
“I believe the key is going to be throwing a lot of punches,” said Jose Pedraza, during his open media workout session leading up to his showdown against Davis.
“I’m going to overwhelm him with a lot of punches. I’m going to use a lot of lateral movement as well. I will use all my experience. All of that is going to be key in this fight. He has youth on his side, but I have the experience.”
Davis is a U.S. Olympic silver medalist and making his return following his October majority decision win over Nahir Albright, which was later ruled a no contest.
Davis, has big plans for the immediate future, aiming to main event future bouts and claiming a world title relatively soon. Much to the chagrin of Pedraza, he is viewed by Davis as a stone or pebble in his path.
“When I stop Pedraza, there’s no denying me,” Davis told reporters. “There’s no denying me.”
“He is a very talented young man with many skills,” said Pedraza.
“But he has the typical American style of moving a lot and counterpunching. He is very selective with his punches and uses his speed very well. I hope he comes well prepared because I am prepared to put on a great performance that will catapult me into the lightweight world title conversation. I want to become a world champion for a third time and cement my legacy in Puerto Rican boxing history.”
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Takeover Promotions and CES Boxing, tickets are on sale now at AXS.com.
Lopez-Ortiz and Davis-Pedraza will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.