FRIDAY UPDATE: I messaged Mikkel LesPierre after he lost a decision to Jose Pedraza on ESPN Thursday night in Las Vegas, at MGM’s Bubble.
You showed an immense heart, I told him.
“Thanks, tough loss, back to the drawing board,” the 35 year old from New York replied.
No excuses are being sought, but, I said, I have to think it would have aided you greatly to be able to train at the gym, at Gleason’s?
“Probably, but like you said no excuses you know,” LesPierre (click for record) said.
“I don’t wanna say a gym would have made a big difference but I don’t want to say it wouldn’t matter. Who knows… but the circumstances probably did have a bigger affect on me than I would have thought even though I did get some sparring.. but who knows.”
I could tell he REALLY didn’t want to be an excuses guy, so I made clear, this is about assessment, analysis and explanations, not making excuses.
“Yeah, if there was gyms open I would have been able to get sparring sooner or I would have already probably been sparring and staying sharper. But that’s not why I lost, I want to make that clear. Tonight just wasn’t my night and I dealt with a lot of obstacles early in the fight that I had to overcome and rally back to get in my rhythm.
LesPierre was born in Trinidad and Tobago, has lived in NY since age 6, grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and lives in the Gravesend area. He shared some of what he went through early at The Bubble. “I got hurt with a body shot in the second round and that kinda threw my rhythm off and when I felt I was getting back in my rhythm I scored the knockdown which kinda shifted my momentum… and then Pedraza knocked me down. And it just seemed like I couldn’t get it going no matter how hard I tried. But a good lesson nonetheless, that’s boxing. I came out on my own two feet and I can only grow from this.”
Here is the release Top Rank sent out after the Thursday night fights:
LAS VEGAS (July 2, 2020) — Former two-weight world champion Jose Pedraza’s quest for a title in a third weight class is alive and well. Pedraza, from Cidra, Puerto Rico, toppled Mikkel LesPierre via unanimous decision (100-88 and 99-89 2x) Thursday night in a junior welterweight bout.
Pedraza and LesPierre were scheduled to fight June 18, but the bout was postponed after LesPierre’s manager tested positive for COVID-19. Pedraza returned to the MGM Grand “Bubble” in fine form, blunting his southpaw opponent’s offense.
Pedraza (27-3, 13 KOs) knocked down LesPierre (22-2-1, 10 KOs) in the fifth round and showed his class down the home stretch. Another knockdown the 10th was the exclamation point on a nearly flawless performance. For Pedraza, it was a much-needed win, as he was coming off a decision loss to Jose Zepeda last September on the Tyson Fury-Otto Wallin undercard.
“Mikkel was a tough opponent, but I stuck to my game plan. I wanted the knockout, but he stayed strong in there. I give him a lot of credit,” Pedraza said. “I would like to fight any of the world champions, but we have to see what happens next. I proved I belong with the top guys in the 140-pound division.”
— Revenge was officially served. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez (4-1, 3 KOs) dominated Adan Gonzales (5-3-2, 2 KOs) over six rounds in a featherweight rematch of their August 2019 bout, won by Gonzales via split decision. All three judges scored the bout 60-54, as Ramirez officially closed the chapter on his nightmarish professional debut.
“I wanted to put our first fight behind me, and I did that. Ever since our first fight, I wanted the rematch. I am glad this chapter of my career is behind me now,” Ramirez said. “A couple more rounds and I could’ve scored the knockout. But I’ll take the win and continue to work hard on my craft. I have the best trainer in Ismael Salas.”
— Toledo native and junior lightweight contender “Prince” Albert Bell (17-0, 5 KOs) outboxed Mark “Machete” Bernaldez over 10 rounds, claiming a unanimous decision by scores of 100-90 3x.
— A straight right hand was all she wrote, as Dominican sensation Elvis Rodriguez (7-0-1, 7 KOs) knocked out Danny Murray (5-4) at 2:17 of the opening round of a junior welterweight bout.
— In a six-round heavyweight rumble featuring a pair of 280-plus-pound heavyweights, Kingsley Ibeh (5-1, 4 KOs) won his second “Bubble” bout in a week, edging Patrick Mailata (4-1, 2 KOs) by majority decision (57-57 and 58-56 2x).
— In a 10-round featherweight slugfest, Jose Enrique Vivas (19-1, 10 KOs) defeated Carlos Jackson (16-1, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 97-93, as Vivas swept the last three rounds on two of the judges’ cards to clinch the win.