From the little I saw of him, I really liked the looks of Puerto Rican prospect Jose Pedraza, who thrashed Corben Page in the main event of Lou Dibella's Broadway Boxing card at BB Kings on Tuesday night in Manhattan.
It would have been nice to get at least a full round to assess the 21-year-old who took part in the 2008 Olympics for PR, but his hands were too heavy for Page, an Oregonian who dropped to 1-2.
The lightweight Pedraza, now 2-0, gave the dozens of people who came to cheer him on much to hoot about. A counter right knocked Page to the mat in the first, and a jab sent him to the floor after that. The ref took a hard look at Page, and stepped in to halt the massacre at 2:25 elapsed with Pedraza mauling him with both hands as he tried in vain to cover up in a corner.
I cannot say yet whether Pedraza is next in line to the PR throne, in the mix with royalty such JuanMa, Miguel Cotto and Tito Trinidad, but his backers are as amped a bunch as you'll see over a kid with two pro bouts.
Co-promoters Lou Dibella and Gary Shaw were in high spirits as they chatted with TSS after the win. The two men work with Javier Bustillo of Puerto Rico's Universal Promotions.
“He's the goods,” said Dibella of the lightweight who debuted in Puerto Rico with a win in June. “He's got a great pedigree, the poise, the body of a young Oscar De La Hoya. This is a thoroughbred.”
Page had to think so…a thoroughbred that left hoof prints on his head.
Dibella said he'd like the kid to fight every five or six weeks, and have him at 10-0 within ten months.
Shaw was almost as excited as the more outwardly passionate Dibella. “He's really poised,” he said. “He knows how to finish. And he moves so well. He looks like he's floating.”
Noting Shaw's enthusiasm, I asked him to offer a comparison to another prospect he'd been similarly gaga over.
“Francisco Bojado,” he answered after a brief pause. You may recall the young boxer who repped Mexico at the 2000 Olympics and was quite heralded as he turned pro under the guidance of Shelly Finkel. Bojado lost his tenth pro bout, lost focus, and called it quits after a 2007 loss to Steve Forbes. Hard to believe, but he could be in the prime of his career now, as he's only 27.
“It was Bojado's to lose, and he lost it,” Shaw said. “I saw it happening, his losing focus, and I'll not let anything like that happen here. I saw a piercing here, and then in the tongue, and tattoos…It was downhill from there.”
I gave Pedraza the third degree, to see if I could detect a loose cannon streak, or maybe get him to show me a weird piercing, and give Shaw a coronary.
He told me that he felt no undue pressure even though he's on the cover of the current ESPN Deportes magazine. “To the contrary, it stimulates me,” he said in Spanish.
The fighter mentioned JuanMa first when asked what PR fighters he looks up to, then Trinidad and then Cotto, for his dedication.
When asked to predict where he'd be in one year, Pedraza said he didn't want to say he'd hold a world title, but did allow that he'd be “at the top in my division.”
As for the possibility of pulling a Bojado, the kid showed a humorous side when he said, “Tattoos may be OK, but not on me.”
NYC area fight fans can check out Pedraza in June, when he'll fight locally, in conjunction with the June 12 Puerto Rican Day parade. He'll likely fight next in Puerto Rico, and basically bounce back and forth from PR and NYC.
Pedraza is married, and people tell me he's in a committed relationship to boxing, so for right now, it looks like the co-promotional squad can put off body checks for tats and piercings.