When Jose Pedraza first won the IBF super featherweight title, his goal was to unify titles. After not getting a chance to do that and moving up in weight, Pedraza will get the opportunity he never had as a super featherweight.
In another chapter of the storied boxing rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico, Pedraza defeated Raymundo Beltran to win the WBO lightweight title. Pedraza won the fight by unanimous decision (117-110, 117-110, 115-113) in the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN card, becoming a two-division world champion.
Pedraza started the fight winning rounds with his jab and footwork. Pedraza found success in causing a cut near Beltran's right eye at the end of the second round. Beltran eventually found his rhythm and attacked the body in the middle rounds. Beltran's constant pressure did not allow Pedraza to throw any big combinations, allowing the champion to land his left hooks and take a momentary lead on one of the scorecards.
Eventually, Pedraza was able to return to form, landing numerous combinations and winning most of the rounds in the second half. Pedraza secured the win on the cards in the 11th round when he landed an uppercut to knock down Beltran. But if there was any doubt as to who would win in the scorecards, a late rally in the final 10 seconds of the fight secured the victory for the Puerto Rican challenger.
With the win, Pedraza not only wins the WBO title, but also punched his ticket for the fight of a lifetime: a unification bout against WBA champion Vasiliy Lomachenko. After Pedraza lost the IBF super featherweight title to Gervonta Davis back in 2017, Pedraza signed with Top Rank in an effort to win a world title as a lightweight. Pedraza won his first two fights at lightweight, becoming the No. 2 lightweight in the WBO rankings.
Since Lomachenko defeated Jorge Linares back in May, the plan from Top Rank was always to have Lomachenko fight the winner of Beltran vs. Pedraza in December. Such a fight would produce the division's second unified champion after Mikey Garcia unified the WBC and IBF titles in late July.