Sometimes, not losing is good for everyone.
No one likes a draw but for veteran former titlists Jose Pedraza and Richard Commey it wasn’t a bad result. As expected, fans got a good fight on Saturday night. Each man was buzzed in spots, working through it and continuing to push for avenues to victory. Commey’s big punch factored heavily in Pedraza’s approach early. Pedraza’s skill and steady work factored late, particularly with his work to the body.
Maybe two more rounds get us to a victor. Maybe they split the frame, battling on the largely even terms the three judges split on. While the fans booed, and they always do when things end dead level, neither man had any reason to hang their head and left with more to look forward to.
Futures: Commey was debuting at Jr. welterweight while Pedraza has been at home there. Both men exit the weekend as viable for bigger fights now instead of just one of them. ‘
For Pedraza, that could mean a nice place in line for a shot at former lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez. The plan is for the regrouping Lopez to fight again near the end of the year in New York. There are plenty of talents under the Top Rank banner who could get that call. Pedraza might be the one most appealing to Lopez. Pedraza name value, has only lost to beltholders and contenders from Jr. lightweight to Jr. welterweight, and proved himself still quite credible against Commey.
Commey has already shared a ring with Lopez and it ended quickly. Drawing with Pedraza in a competitive affair will make him valuable to the rest of the Top Rank roster at Jr. welterweight. Arnold Barboza and Jose Ramirez are two names without their next opponent sorted out. A win over either would see Commey leapfrog into contention in his new division. Had he faltered late against Pedraza, options like that might not have been there. Commey digging in to keep himself in the game in the final round Saturday stalled the tides of time for now.
Heavyweight action highlighted the only significant card of the weekend…Efe Ajagba still carries a big punch and that will keep him working for a while even if his ceiling still appears limited. Ajagba shared a card with two young hopefuls that could factor in his future…Olympic Silver Medalist Richard Torrez Jr. got his third straight professional knockout but opponent Marco Canedo barely looked like a professional fighter. Torrez is getting the line ‘em up treatment to start his career. Don’t expect much resistance for a while. Top Rank is good at building the type of fighters once called matinee idols and he’s got the story, Olympic pedigree, and style to build a following. Only 23, there is plenty of time to play with here…Jared Anderson is a different story. Already 12-0, he’s got buzz about him as one of the better young Americans in the division. Anderson has size, power, and a relaxed style in there with still plenty of edges to refine defensively. Anderson is still not quite a contender yet but he’s advancing well and could be ready to make some real moves by the end of next year. Could Anderson-Ajagba be a step on that road?
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com