By Brian Webber: Lightweight prospect Keyshawn Davis is getting his wish, facing Jose Pedraza in a ten round clash on December 9th on the undercard of WBO featherweight champion Robeisy Ramirez vs. Rafael Espinoza.
This is a Top Rank-promoted card in Pembroke Pines, Florida. It’s a risky fight for the 24-year-old Keyshawn (10-0, 6 KOs), as he looked something awful earlier this month against Nahir Albright, getting staggered by him and almost losing in a ten round affair.
It’s fair to say that Keyshawn should win this fight handily, as the 34-year-old Pedraza has lost two out of his last three fights since last year and hasn’t looked like the fighter he once was since 2016.
ESPN reports that Keyshawn will face Pedraza on December 9th on the Robeisy vs. Espinoza card.
Even if Keyshawn wins this fight, he’d be kidding himself if he thinks he beat the prime version of Pedraza because that guy is long gone. Pedraza has had a lot of hard fights since his loss to Gervonta Davis in 2017, and it’s aged him a little.
Pedraza made a mistake with his career by moving up to 140 shortly after his loss to Vasily Lomachenko at 135 in 2018. ‘Sniper’ Pedraza must have thought that moving up to light welterweight would be the answer to his problems, but that just made things worse for him because since his move up in weight, he’s lost three times to these fighters:
Arnold Barboza Jr.
Pedraza should have moved back down in weight to 135 after his loss to Zepeda in 2019. If he had turned to the lightweight or the super featherweight divisions, he could have saved himself some losses.
What was really telling was Pedraza coming close to losing to Richard Commey last year in their fight that was scored a ten round draw.
Keyshawn was victorious, but it was one of those fights that made you question whether he’s cut out for the sport because struggling at this early stage suggests that he won’t be a world champion without careful maneuvering by Top Rank.
All the flaws in Keyshawn’s game that were exposed by Cuban Andy Cruz in the 2020 Olympics were still present, and Albright took advantage of them.
If Albright had been more aggressive early on, he would have beaten Keyshawn. Top Rank would then need to think about dumping him. Interestingly, Keyshawn’s promoters aren’t running it back with Albright because that’s an opponent that they should be returning to.
It could be that Top Rank has some concerns about whether Keyshawn could beat Albright the second time around because he had him all figured out from the sixth round, and dominated the 2020 Olympian in the last half of the fight.
In a rematch, Albright would start where he left off, pressure Keyshawn, and work him over with combinations like he did from the sixth round.
If Keyshawn fails to impress against Pedraza, it might be time for Top Rank to cut him adrift and focus on building Shakur Stevenson because they’re both in the same weight class. Keyshawn will never beat Shakur, and he’ll never get a chance to face Gervonta Davis.
If Keyshawn moves up to 140, he might improve because they’re a little slower there, but it’s not a good signal that he’s struggling with the power of the fighters at 135.
You wouldn’t want to see Top Rank match Keyshawn against lightweights like William Zepeda, Edwin De Los Santos, Tank, and Raymond Muratalla because those guys can punch.
If Keyshawn targets the WBO lightweight belt, he could win that one once Devin Haney vacates, but he may not hold onto it for long if Zepeda becomes his mandatory.