Jose Pedraza hoped that a victory over Richard Commey on Saturday night would’ve moved him into position to fight Teofimo Lopez next.
Lopez needs an opponent for his December 10 return to the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York. A bout between Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) and Pedraza would’ve been easy to make because both boxers are promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. and they’re essentially on the same schedule after fighting two weeks apart in main events ESPN televised.
Pedraza’s split draw with Commey eliminated Lopez as a potential opponent for the former two-division champion from Puerto Rico. As usual, however, Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs) is more than willing to take whichever difficult fight Top Rank offers the junior welterweight contender, including an immediate rematch with Ghana’s Commey (30-4-1, 27 KOs).
“I’ve never turned down a fight, and I’m not going to start now,” Pedraza said. “Whatever Top Ranks wants for me. If they demand a rematch, I’m ready to give Richard Commey a rematch because he deserves one and I have the utmost respect for him. Ultimately, my goal is to win a world title once again. Whatever I have to do, that’s what I’m willing to do.”
Pedraza, 33, and Commey, 35, engaged in a highly competitive 10-round, 140-pound fight at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Commey had started to have his way with Pedraza until an accidental clash of heads caused a cut around Commey’s left eye in the sixth round. Pedraza pounced on Commey thereafter and often took their fight to the vulnerable former IBF lightweight champion during the second half of a bout that marked Commey’s debut at the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds.
Pedraza won 97-93 on the scorecard of judge Henry Gueary, whereas judge David Sutherland scored their fight for Commey, 96-94. Judge Gary Ritter scored their encounter even, 95-95.
CompuBox’s unofficial punch stats showed that their fight was every bit as competitive as two of the judges scored it. CompuBox counted only 16 more punches landed for Pedraza (165-of-496 to 149-of-684).
Pedraza connected with more power punches (134-of-291 to 130-of-377) and more jabs (31-of-205 to 19-of-307), according to CompuBox.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.