By Jake Donovan
—A bloodletting gave way to a boxing lesson as unbeaten junior lightweight Jose Pedraza dominated Andrey Klimov over 12 rounds Saturday evening at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Scores were 120-108 (twice) and 118-109 for Pedraza, who won a 130 lb. title in the process. The bout served as the Showtime-televised chief support to Deontay Wilder's homecoming showcase versus Eric Molina in his first heavyweight title defense.
Pedraza was in control from the opening bell, spending much of the first half of the bout laying the foundation for a desired knockout finish. Klimov did his best to try to keep up, even enjoying moments of success in round four.
From there, Pedraza lived up to his "Sniper" nickname, picking off Klimov at will. His nose bloodied and eyes sliced up, it appeared to be a matter of time before the fight would come to a close.
Credit is due to Klimov for avoiding that fate, although referee Charlie Fitch—who did a great job of officiating from afar all evening—was forced to give the battered boxer a hard look after rounds seven and eight. The action was permitted to continue, at which point Pedraza transitioned from aspiring knockout artist to performing a boxing clinic.
The latter part segued to a somewhat anti-climactic finish, as the championship rounds were void of action. Klimov was content with going the full 12 rounds, while Pedraza realized a knockout wasn't there to be had.
Nevertheless, the unbeaten southpaw from Puerto Rico nets his first major title. In running his record to 20-0 (12KOs), Pedraza claims a 130 lb. title, the win coming on the eve of the National Puerto Rican Day parade some 1,000 miles away in New York City.
"This was years in the making for me," Pedraza said after the fight. "We're a small island; this was an honor to bring home the title."
Klimov (19-2, 9KOs) ends a three-fight win streak with the defeat, his first since falling well short to Terence Crawford in Oct. '13.
The belt at stake was made available when Rances Barthelemy opted to vacate, moving all the way up to junior welterweight where he will face Antonio DeMarco on June 21 in Las Vegas.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox