Jose Pedraza and Mikkel LesPierre tested negative for COVID-19 in the buildup toward their ESPN main event Thursday night.
BoxingScene.com has learned that LesPierre’s manager, Josie Taveras, tested positive, however, which led to the Nevada State Athletic Commission canceling their main event Thursday morning. In accordance with safety protocols established by the NSAC and Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., the promoter of ESPN’s shows this month in Las Vegas, fights must be at least postponed if someone within a fighter’s camp tests positive for COVID-19.
Puerto Rico’s Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) and Brooklyn’s LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) were supposed to meet in a 10-round junior welterweight fight at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
This is the third time in two weeks that an ESPN fight has been scrapped on short notice due to a positive test for COVID-19. A 10-round women’s junior lightweight bout scheduled for June 9 between Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) and Helen Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs) was canceled June 7 because Mayer tested positive for the virus.
ESPN’s show still is scheduled to proceed Thursday night, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
The new main event likely will be Gabriel Flores Jr. (17-0, 6 KOs), a junior lightweight prospect from Stockton, California, against Miami’s Josec Ruiz (21-2-3, 14 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight fight. They were supposed to open the telecast in the co-featured fight.
ESPN still will air five fights Thursday night.
The Pedraza-LesPierre bout is expected to be rescheduled, though it is not clear when.
Check back for more on this story later.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.