Two former world champions meet in California in the early hours of Saturday morning as Jose Carlos Ramirez comes up against Jose Pedraza.
Ramirez lost his WBC and WBO super lightweight titles, as well as his unbeaten record, in his last fight in a unanimous decision defeat to Josh Taylor, who defended his WBA, IBF and The Ring titles to become the undisputed king of the division.
Pedraza is a former two-weight world champion and is now bidding to work his way towards another world title shot, and Saturday’s clash could be a competitive contest in an intriguing super lightweight division.
American Ramirez is rated as the heavy favourite at 1/7 and Pedraza is the outsider at 4/1.
The fight will take place on Friday 4th March at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California, USA. The event is due to start at 17:30 Pacific Time, which means a late start for viewers in the UK at 01:30 on Saturday morning.
The ring walk for the main event itself is scheduled to start at around 03:00 on Saturday GMT, although that will be subject to change depending on how long the fights on the undercard last.
The fight will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Action and broadcast of the card is expected to begin at 2:30am on Saturday morning.
There are no titles on the line in this fight but the stakes are huge for both men regardless.
Ramirez won the then vacant WBC super lightweight title by defeating Amir Iman in March 2018 and then added the WBO belt to his collection in July the following year. He held both of those titles until he lost to Taylor in May, and this is his first outing since suffering a first professional defeat.
Pedraza is now trying to establish himself in a new division and become a three-weight world champion after holding belts at super featherweight and lightweight.
With Taylor widely expected to step up in weight class after his controversial split decision victory over Jack Catterall on Saturday, the super lightweight division will once again be wide open and these two boxers will both want to be in positions to challenge for the titles when they are vacated by the Scot.
There are just two fights on the undercard and the opening event takes place at super featherweight as American Gabriel Flores Jr comes up against Mexico’s Abraham Montoya.
That will be followed by a featherweight match-up as LA native Joet Gonzalez takes on Jeo Santisima of the Philippines.
Ramirez won his first 26 fights before his unanimous decision loss to Taylor in 2021 and he has some impressive wins on his CV, such as victories over Jose Zepeda and Ukrainian Viktor Postol.
The American has 17 stoppage wins, although they have become rarer since he made the step up to world level and just one of his last five wins has come inside the distance.
At 32, Pedraza is three years older than his opponent and has been a professional for roughly two years longer.
The 'Sniper' has 29 wins (14 KOs) and three losses on his record - but all of those defeats have been against excellent opponents.
Pedraza’s first loss came against Gervonta Davis and he was then beaten by Vasiliy Lomachenko, who are both widely regarded as being among the 10 best active pound-for-pound fighters.
Pedraza was beaten on points by Zepeda in September 2019, seven months after Ramirez had claimed a mixed decision win over the same opponent.
Pedraza has moved between the divisions over his last few fights and this looks a big step up for just his second consecutive bout at super lightweight, after stopping Julian Rodriguez in his last outing.
Pedraza can be a tricky fighter as he is capable of adopting both orthodox and southpaw stances, although he is more comfortable in the former, but Ramirez looks a worthy favourite.
'JCR' has a one-inch height advantage and a two-inch reach advantage, while the stats suggest he carries more power with a knockout percentage of 65 to Pedraza’s 48 per-cent.
Pedraza's only stoppage defeat so far has come against the unbeaten Davis, who boasts incredible power and has stopped 24 of his 26 opponents, and this fight could well go the full distance so a win on points for Ramirez looks the best bet.
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