Jose Ramirez will have to wait at least one more month for his first fight as a former titlist. has confirmed with sources that Jose Pedraza (Covid) was forced to shut down training camp, thus postponing plans for a previously scheduled February 5 clash with Ramirez. The event was to headline an ESPN+ show from Save Mart Arena in Fresno, roughly an hour from Ramirez’s hometown of Avenal, California. It will now take place on March 4, per sources.

News of the postponed ESPN+ event was first revealed by boxing insider Mike Coppinger via Twitter.

Once rescheduled, Ramirez (26-1, 17KOs) will make his first ring appearance since a twelve-round unanimous decision defeat to Scotland’s Josh Taylor (18-0, 13KOs). It came in a memorable undisputed junior welterweight championship last May 22 at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, with two knockdowns suffered by Ramirez proving to be the difference on the scorecards of Tim Cheatham (114-112), Dave Moretti (114-112) and Steve Weisfeld (114-112).

The loss ended Ramirez’s three-plus year WBC title reign, having made four successful defenses including a July 2019 knockout of Maurice Hooker to win the WBO belt on the road in Arlington, Texas. The win over Hooker came 16 months after Ramirez outpointed Amir Imam to win the vacant WBC junior welterweight belt on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City.

Pedraza (29-3, 14KOs) has emerged as a bubble contender in the junior welterweight division after a rough introduction in a ten-round loss to current top contender Jose Zepeda in September 2019. Three wins have followed for the former junior lightweight and lightweight titlist from Cidra, Puerto Rico, all taking place in Las Vegas.

In his most recent start, Pedraza—who represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Beijing Olympics—stopped previously unbeaten Julian Rodriguez after eight rounds last June 12 at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

The winner will serve as a formidable challenger to Taylor, who will face England’s Jack Catterall on February 26. The fight was also rescheduled, originally due to take place December 18 only for Taylor to suffer an injury which postponed the WBO mandatory title (also with the lineal/WBA/WBC/IBF titles at stake) to February 26 in Glasgow.

With the new fight date, Ramirez will make his eighth career appearance at Save Mart Arena, proving to be a huge draw in his home region. His last three appearances came with title implications, including a second-round knockout of unbeaten Mike Reed in their November 2017 title eliminator and a September 2018 unanimous decision win over then-undefeated contender Antonio Orozco in the first defense of his WBC title.

Ramirez’s seventh and most recent appearance at the venue came in February 2019, barely outlasting Zepeda in claiming a twelve-round majority decision win. The fight preceded his career-best win over Hooker to become a unified titlist.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox