Up and coming junior lightweight José “Sniper” Pedraza kicks of his 2014 campaign tonight when he meets Alberto Garza.
The two collide in Ponce, Puerto Rico for the vacant IBO title, further extending the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry.
Pedraza won silver at the 2009 world championship to cap a fine amateur career, since then he’s quickly advanced to 15-0, with 10 knockouts.
The 24 year old switch hitter hopes he can one day join the pantheon of top Puerto Rican boxers but first he’ll have to continue to progress and earn those honours. His promoter Gary Shaw predicts big things.
“Pedraza is one of the best fighters to come out of Puerto Rico in a very long time.
“His ability to adapt to any style makes him extremely special. He can fight both southpaw and conventional and has the power to keep anyone honest. I believe he can conquer the 130-pound division and win multiple world titles.” said Shaw.
Pedraza who’s ranked by all four major sanctioning bodies WBC #9, IBF #8, WBA #11, and WBO #15 graciously spoke with Maxboxing.com ahead of his homecoming.
The action can be seen live in U.S. and Puerto Rico on Direct TV at 9:00 P.M. EST.
Anson Wainwright - Tonight you face Alberto Garza, in Ponce, PR. what are your thoughts on that fight?
Jose Pedraza - It is a very interesting fight because it is a world-class boxer and is a great opportunity to fight for the IBO World Title and opens many doors for me.
AW - What do you feel Garza brings to this fight in terms of strengths and what weaknesses do you see?
JP - Garza is a typical Mexican fighter, who fights aggressively. His weakness is that he doesn't know when to move back. With my speed and lateral movement, I will do roll back take advantage of that.
AW - In your last fight you stopped Alejandro Rodriguez in three rounds can you tell us about that fight?
JP - Alejandro is a great fighter and did not expect the KO so fast. That was a product of my great workout.
AW - What are your targets for this year?
JP - My goal is to fight the best in order to achieve my goal, to be world champion.
AW - Do you feel a pressure as their are currently no Puerto Rican world champions to change that?
JP - I do not feel pressure, instead motivated to keep fighting, doing what I like, to be the next Puerto Rican world champion.
AW - Who are the key members of your team, promoter, trainer & manager? Also what gym do you train at?
JP - My promoters are Gary Shaw, Lou DiBella and Javier Bustillo. My manager and trainer is Luis Espada (my father). Members of my team are Luis Espada, Andres Melendez and Francisco Flores. My training site is the Municipal Gym of Cidra Nicolas "El Puma" Ortiz.
AW - How did you become interested in boxing?
JP - Before being a boxer I was track and field runner. My father took me to a boxing card in Cidra to see if I liked boxing and I told him I did. And so I started at 12 years old.
AW - You were a standout amateur, though you won silver at the 2009 world championships, you weren't able to win a medal at the Olympics. Was that a huge disappointment to you?
JP - Yeah, the Olympics could have been my best time, but if I waited until another Olympics I would have had to say goodbye to professional boxing as it is a very short career.
AW - What are your thoughts on the junior lightweight division?
JP - No matter the ranking, at some point I will I face any of them and be ready for that moment.
AW - Away from boxing tell us about yourself and what you enjoy doing?
JP - I am a family man, I enjoy going to the movies, spending time with my loved ones, eating out and enjoy my children.
AW - In closing do you have a message for the junior featherweight division?
JP - Everyone in this division I say, well get ready because there's a new prospect and I will not be easy and that prospect is called José “Sniper” Pedraza.