Puerto Rican super-featherweight, Jose Pedraza (22-0 12KO) labels his latest opponent, Gervonta Davis (16-0 15KO) as a cheap imitation of Floyd Mayweather Jr, and questions his resilience.
The 27-year-old defends his IBF super-featherweight title for a third time against Davis on the undercard of James DeGale v Badou Jack on January 14 in Brooklyn, New York.
Davis fights under the Mayweather Promotions banner, and the 22-year-old caught Mayweather’s eye during a 2015 Adrien Broner training camp. But Pedraza feels his skills are nowhere near the same as his promoter’s.
“He’s just a cheap imitation of Floyd Mayweather Jr,” he said. “And like all imitations, they’re never as the same quality as the original ones.
“I’m ready to fight. The question is, is he ready for fighters who are coming at him. If he gets tired he’s going to have trouble in the later rounds. I’m predicting a knockout.”
Pedraza has been inactive since defeating Liverpool’s Stephen Smith on April 16 – his only fight in 2016. The Puerto Rican fought twice in 2015 where he claimed the vacant IBF title against Andrey Klimov.
With Vasyl Lomachenko regarded as a future pound for pound star, the Ukrainian gains most of the plaudits at super-featherweight, but Pedraza is certain he’s the most avoided in the division.
“I don’t think I’m underrated,” the 27-year-old said. “I think people know my quality, that’s why they avoid fighting me because they know how good of a fighter I am, and I believe I am the best fighter at 130lbs.”
When asked on his ‘sniper’ nickname, Pedraza said: “Sniper shooters are very patient. They always wait for the right moments to take their shots, and they’re always effective.
“I’m patient, take my time, pick my shots, and I always hit my target.”
Davis boasts an impressive knockout ratio, stopping 15 of his 16 opponents in the professional ranks, his most recent was a first-round KO against Mario Macias on June 3, 2016.
Before turning professional in 2013, the Mayweather Promotions prospect had a decorated amateur career, winning two Junior Olympic gold medals before making the switch to the paid ranks.
Pedraza acknowledged the power Davis has shown, but remains confident it won’t play a part on January 14.
“I believe he is a power puncher,” the IBF champion added. “But I do not believe he has more power than Edner Cherry. I’m always alert about what’s happening in the ring, but I’m not worried about his punching power.
“I think my whole amateur career and having all these big fights in pro boxing is going to be an advantage.”
Pedraza also addressed speculation on moving up in weight to lightweight, he said: “We got offered this fight and we’re going to take one more fight at 130lbs and whatever happens here, either way we’re going to go up in weight class.”