Arnold Barboza Jr. sees Jose Pedraza as precisely the kind of confirmed opponent he must beat to point out he’s prepared for a junior welterweight world title shot.

The unbeaten Barboza and Pedraza, a two-weight world champion, will combat Friday night time in a consequential 10-rounder Barboza should win to advance towards what could be the primary championship match of his nine-year skilled profession. Barboza beat then-undefeated Danielito Zorrilla (16-1, 12 KOs) convincingly on factors in his final bout – a 10-rounder ESPN televised July 15 from Temecula, California – however Pedraza’s resume is way more spectacular.

Puerto Rico’s Pedraza is 0-1-1 in his previous two fights, together with a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to former WBC/WBO 140-pound champ Jose Ramirez and a 10-round cut up draw with former IBF light-weight champ Richard Commey. Barboza (27-0, 10 KOs) nonetheless considers the 33-year-old ex-champion essentially the most imposing opponent he could have fought since he made his professional debut in June 2013.

“I really feel like that is the hardest combat of my profession, man,” Barboza informed “He has all of the expertise. He’s fought nothing however the perfect, so you understand, I’m trying ahead to proving myself. I do know successful this combat is gonna take me to a different stage.”

Barboza believed a victory over Alex Saucedo (then 30-1) in October 2020 would’ve moved him into place to combat for a title within the 140-pound division. The 31-year-old contender from South El Monte, California has known as out champions and former champions since he received up from a seventh-round knockdown to defeat Saucedo on factors, but right here he’s, merely hopeful {that a} victory over Pedraza places him the place he feels he belongs.

“It’s been irritating,” Barboza mentioned. “However look, you’ve gotta hold preventing. You’ve gotta hold placing meals on the desk.”

Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs), a former IBF junior light-weight and WBO light-weight champ, was alleged to combat former unified light-weight champ Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) on December 10 at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York.

Pedraza pulled out of that bout with an undisclosed sickness. As soon as he was wholesome, Pedraza agreed to battle Barboza in a co-feature ESPN will air from Desert Diamond Enviornment in Glendale, Arizona, simply earlier than Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs) and Australia’s Liam Wilson (11-1, 7 KOs) combat for the vacant WBO junior light-weight title within the 12-round fundamental occasion (10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. PT).

“Man, I’m hoping it opens plenty of doorways, doorways that haven’t been open,” Barboza mentioned. “I hope for a title shot, larger names. However first issues first, I’ve gotta get by means of this combat at this level. We’ll see what occurs.”

Commey (30-4-1, 27 KOs) and Pedraza fought to a 10-round cut up attract Pedraza’s most up-to-date bout. Barboza anticipated Pedraza to be declared the winner of their very aggressive contest August 27 at Laborious Rock Lodge & On line casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“I assumed Pedraza pulled it off, but it surely was an amazing combat,” Barboza mentioned. “I noticed he might keep in there and combat. Like I’ve mentioned, he’s very versatile – lefty, righty, good and has plenty of expertise. So, it’s gonna be one thing completely different and one thing difficult for me. I’m simply prepared and searching ahead to it. … I hope individuals come away from this pondering, ‘Man, this man is prepared for a title shot.’ ”

If that title shot have been to return towards Regis Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs), the hard-hitting WBC tremendous light-weight champion, Barboza wouldn’t hesitate to take it. Barboza is ranked eighth among the many WBC’s contenders within the 140-pound division.

“With open arms, I might welcome that any day,” mentioned Barboza, who can also be ranked fourth by the WBO. “He’s an amazing fighter, a robust fighter. He’s a champion and I believe he’s the perfect at 140. Why wouldn’t I wanna combat the perfect at 140 to see the place I’m at? That’s the sort of combat we’re searching for.”

Keith Idec is a senior author/columnist for He may be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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