MASHANTUCKET, Conn.– From the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Jose Pedraza defended his IBF Junior Lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Stephen Smith.
Pedraza (22-0, 12 KOs) remained disciplined and came out victorious during his second IBF 130-pound world title defense. A combination of timing, hand speed and good defense allowed the Puerto Rican native to dominate the 12-round championship fight.
“This definitely was a tough fight but the training really came to advantage in this fight,” Pedraza told SHOWTIME Sports reporter Jim Gray. “I knew he was a tough fighter so I was always aware.”
“I had better focus tonight. I had a better training camp,” said Pedraza, referring to his controversial split decision win over Edner Cherry two fights ago. “I knew that Stephen Smith was a great fighter and even after the knockdown, we were very cautious not to rush in.”
“Pedraza won tonight with different weapons. Mostly right hands to the head,” said Farhood. “I had the fight even after eight rounds and once Pedraza dropped Smith in the ninth, he gained momentum that he never lost and he pulled away. It was an impressive performance but also an important one because it erased a lot of the negative criticism Pedraza received in his controversial win over Edner Cherry.”
Pedraza was the more accurate fighter, landing 50 percent of his power punches over the 12-round bout. The Sniper was able to pick his spots and pocket rounds once he figured out the distance. Smith had his moments, but wasn’t active enough.
Brian Custer hosted the SHOWTIME telecast, with Mauro Ranallo calling the action, Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and former two-time world champion Paulie Malignaggi commentating and Jim Gray reporting. In the Spanish simulcast, Alejandro Luna called the blow-by-blow and former world champion Raul Marquez served as color commentator. The executive producer of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING was David Dinkins Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.