By Miguel Rivera
As BoxingScene.com first reported on Tuesday, the junior lightweight champion of the International Boxing Federation (IBF), Jose Pedraza, will make his mandatory defense against Stephen Smith on the 26th of March in New York.
A purse bid was scheduled for Tuesday, and canceled, after the sanctioning body was advised of a deal.
On Monday, promoter Peter Rivera of Puerto Rico Best Boxing was discussing the idea of having Pedraza (21-0, 12 knockouts) face Smith (23-1, 13 KOs) as part of the undercard to the Roman Martinez-Orlando Salido trilogy bout on February 20th.
Rivera, who handles Martinez, is not the promoter of Pedraza. He is promoted by Lou DiBella and Javier Bustillo.
Pedraza and Martinez are both advised by Al Haymon.
The incoming news of the March date was not taken well by Pedraza's father and trainer, Luis Espada.
He was under the impression that a fight with Smith was taking place on previously mentioned date of February 20 and they had already started training for the date.
"We just heard [about the March date]. I wish that the promoters were a little more forthcoming about this. We were training to fight on February 20 and now this adds another month of inactivity....that's too long without a fight," Espada told Jose Sanchez.
According to Pedraza, his next fight was originally targeted for the January 16th undercard to Deontay Wilder's WBC heavyweight title defense against Artur Szpilka at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Puerto Rican fighter was last in action on October 3rd when he won a tough twelve round split decision over veteran Edner Cherry. Smith will have a longer sting of inactivity coming in. He was last seen on September 19th when he knocked out Devis Boschiero.