Jose Pedraza dominates Javier Molina in one-sided 10-round decision win
By Matt Lieberman: In a battle of 2008 Olympians, Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs) outclassed Javier ‘The Untouchable’ Molina (22-3, 9 KOs) in beating him by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision last Saturday night at the MGM Grand in ‘The Bubble’ in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The scores were 99-91, 98-02, and 98-92. Boxing News 24 had it for Pedraza nine rounds to one [99-91]. Aside from the first round, Molina could do precious little from the second round on for the remainder of the fight.
‘The Untouchable’ Molina had the size and the power to give Pedraza problems, but he wasn’t able to put his punches together.
Most of the time, Molina was throwing single punches, and he wasn’t letting his hands go the way he needed to for him to be competitive with a fighter like ‘Sniper’ Pedraza.
Pedraza ready for a world title shot
The former two-division world champion Pedraza, 31, believes he’s now ready to challenge for a world title against WBC/WBO 140lb champ Jose Ramirez or IBF/WBA champion Josh Taylor. If Pedraza can’t get a shot against either of those fighters, he wants a rematch against Jose Zepeda.
Molina was trying to land counters all night, and that wasn’t going to work for him because Pedraza was too quick with the way he was getting in and out. While Molina did land some nice counter shots here and there, he wasn’t able to land enough for him to win rounds.
“I do believe I’m ready for a world title opportunity. Whoever it happens to be between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez, I want the winner of that fight,” Pedraza said. “If for some reason I can’t get a world title shot against them, I do want to respectfully ask Jose Zepeda for the rematch.”
Pedraza lost a clear 10 round unanimous decision to Zepeda last year in September 2019, but he’s improved his game considerably since then.
It’s clear that Pedraza has been closely studying his defeat against Vasily Lomachenko from 2018, and he’s now fighting a lot like him. Of any fighter in boxing, Pedraza’s new style is more like Lomachenko than anyone.
The version of Pedraza that we saw last Saturday night against Molina will have an excellent shot at defeating Jose Zepeda in a rematch. Whether Top Rank wants to put Pedraza and Zepeda back together for a second fight remains to be seen.
It’s arguably better for Top Rank to have Pedraza and Zepeda on different paths. It increases the chances of capturing world titles after Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor move up to 147 soon.
Lack of size could hold the ‘Sniper’ back
Pedraza probably is too small and weak to beat Ramirez, Taylor, or Regis Prograis. The ‘Sniper’ isn’t cut out to be fighting at 140 against the bigger and stronger punchers. Yeah, Pedraza can beat limited light-welterweights like Javier Molina and Mikkel LesPierre, but it’s a different story for him to take on Taylor, Ramirez, or Prograis.
It’s impressive how much Pedraza has learned from his loss to Lomachenko, and is now mimicking his style of fighting. It’s similar to how Canelo Alvarez learned from his defeat against Floyd Mayweather Jr from 2013 and began using many of his moves.
Canelo emerged from his loss to Mayweather with an entirely different style, and he’s a far better fighter now than he was when he took that fight seven years ago. If the 2020 version of Canelo had fought Mayweather in 2013, he likely would have knocked him out.
Starting in the seventh, Molina began to come forward to pressure Pedraza, which is something he should have been doing from the beginning of the contest. However, Molina’s attempt to adapt failed to work for him, considering that Pedraza did an excellent job of moving around the ring and not presenting a stationary target for the slow-footed Molina to land his single shots.
Molina started well
The bigger, stronger fighter Molina, 30, started well in the first two rounds. Still, he fell apart in the third round after being accidentally head-butted by Pedraza on three separate occasions.
Molina was cut over his left eye on the second head clash in the round, and he was never able to regroup from that point on. It wasn’t so much the head-butts that did Molina in but more the fast pace, herky-jerky style, and the quicker hands of Pedraza that ultimately was too much for him.
Pedraza looked more impressive beating Molina than he did in his recent one-sided 10 round unanimous decision win over 35-year-old Mikkel LesPierre earlier this summer on July 2 in Las Vegas.
What made the victory over Molina more impressive for Pedraza is the fact that he was facing a more talented fighter than LesPierre, and he was able to show a lot more facets of his game.
Javier Molina not learning from his losses
The loss for Molina is a bad one, as he was utterly dominated in a way that suggests that it may prove to be impossible for him to come back from it. It’s challenging to imagine Molina being able to improve his game enough for him to one day capture a world title at 140. ‘
The Untouchable’ Molina isn’t old at 30, but he does appear to be set his ways for his style of fighting. He can’t be that way for him to capture a world title.
Like Pedraza, Molina needs to learn from his losses, retool his game and improve, but I don’t see that happening. Molina looked the same way tonight in losing to Pedraza as he did in his losses to Jamal James and Artemio Reyes.
The reason Molina lost to those two fighters is that he was throwing too many single punches and not focusing on combination punching, which is what he badly needs.
If Molina had the same crushing Julian Jackson level power, then he could get away with having a low punch output, but he didn’t hit hard enough to fight like that. It’s easy to see why Molina chooses not to increase his production.
He doesn’t have the best gas tank, and his hand speed isn’t anything to write home about. While I wouldn’t call Molina slow of hand, but he’s not as fast as he needs to be for him to compete against the lions at 140 like Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, and Regis Prograis.
Should Molina move down to 135?
Given that Molina isn’t improving his game, he will have to be resigned to being a 2nd tier level fighter at 140. That’s a bitter pill for Molina to swallow, but that’s the reality of it.
Unless Molina can change, he’s not going to win against top-level competition at light-welterweight. He might want to explore the possibility of moving down to 135, where his power will be more formidable.
If Molina isn’t going to change his game, then he should consider melting down to lightweight, and see if he can use his vast size to beat the smaller guys in that weight class.
For his part, Pedraza learned from his December 2018 loss to Vasily Lomachenko. He’s incorporated many things that the Ukrainian fighter used against him into his game name.
Pedraza is a lot more unorthodox and unpredictable now than he was when he fought Lomachenko. In a way, Pedraza has become a watered-down version of Lomahcneko. He’s not as good as Loma with his new style, but it’s beneficial for him, and he looks like a new fighter.
Undercard results for Pedraza vs. Molina card:
- Efe Ajagba UD 10 Jonnie Rice
- Robeisy Ramirez UD 8 Felix Caraballo
- Leo Ruiz UD 6 Rodrigo Solis
- Christian Montanon UD 6 Ryan Adams
- Bryan Lua KO 2 Luis Norambuena
- Jahi Tucker TKO 1 DeAndre Anderson
- Kasir Goldston UD 4 Isaiah Varnell
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- Vasily Lomachenko apologizes to fans for loss to Teofimo Lopez
- Campbell takes partial credit for Teofimo’s win over Lomachenko
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- Michael Conlan vs. Isaac Dogboe agreed for Dec.5 on ESPN