Puerto Rico's Jose “Sniper” Pedraza wants a chance to challenge for one of the world belts at 140 pounds. To do so, he will first have to get past Arnold Barboza Jr when they meet in a 10-round crossroads showdown on February 3.
Barboza (27-0, 10 KO) is ranked in the top 10 by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the World Boxing Organization. Last July, Barboza returned from an 11-month layoff to snatch the undefeated record of Puerto Rican boxer Danielito Zorrilla. He now has his eyes set on turning back Pedraza.
Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs) became a world champion at junior lightweight and lightweight before moving up in weight to junior welterweight in 2019. He is 3-2-1 in the weight class.
Last March, he made it competitive with former unified champion Jose Ramírez over 12 rounds before losing a unanimous decision. Less than six months later, he fought to a draw in a battle of former champions with Richard Commey.
Earlier this month, Pedraza was all set to take part in a main event at Madison Square Garden against Teofimo López. The bout was scheduled for December 10, but Pedraza was forced to withdrew with a viral infection unrelated to COVID-19. The 33-year-old understands that a victory over Barboza will move him closer to a world title opportunity.
“I have fully recovered from the illness that forced me to withdraw from the fight with Lopez. Right now, I feel 100 percent and I know that Barboza Jr. is one of the best fighters in the division . I am sure that this will be a great fight where I will reaffirm my level as an elite fighter at 140 pounds," Pedraza said.