Richard Commey may have been an underdog going into his fight against Jose Pedraza but it certainly didn’t appear that way once the first bell rang.
Commey and Pedraza went back and forth in an entertaining scrap which culminated in a 10-round split decision draw verdict.
Scorecards read 96-94 for Commey, 95-95 and a seemingly too-wide 97-93 for Pedraza.
“It is a draw. Obviously, I have to go back home and see my people,” said Commey. “I love my people, and I gotta go back there, do what I gotta do.”
The 35-year-old Commey (30-4-1, 27 KOs) entered the ring sporting his native Ghana’s flag, in defiance of the decree handed down by the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) which warned him not to wear the flag nor fight under its banner.
The GBA and Commey have been at odds, with the GBA demanding that Commey pay a percentage of his purses to the governing body as their statute states. However, Commey has not been licensed by the GBA in over five years and thus, isn’t under their auspices.
That didn’t stop the GBA from indefinitely banning Commey and pretending they wield a power that disallows him from representing his native Ghana wherever he fights.
It didn’t work.
Commey looked rejuvenated in his 140-pound debut. The former lightweight champion came forward behind a stiff jab and unloaded with power punches that backed Pedraza up.
A counter left hook from Commey in the third briefly stunned the ambidextrous former two-division champion who, after beginning the fight in an orthodox stance, had now switched to southpaw in an effort to thwart Commey’s advances. The move also allowed him to land the straight left to Commey’s midsection, a shot he landed all night and which helped slow the Ghanaian down.
Even so, Commey seemingly had the momentum as the give and take ensued in the middle rounds. However, a clash of heads in the sixth opened a bad cut over Commey’s left eye. Pedraza attacked with renewed energy, forcing Commey to box behind his stick. The Puerto Rican had his best round in the ninth, when body shots and uppercuts forced Commey to hold.
With the fight hanging in the balance, Commey was busier in the 10th, summoning every last ounce of energy to finish strong. It wasn’t enough to land the victory on the judge’s cards but there were no losers on this night.
“Even though my eye was inflamed, we understood that it was done because he has a good right hand. The entire night, the whole point was to neutralize that right hand. Despite the fact that it was inflamed, I was able to do that,” said Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs). “I’ve never turned down a fight, and I’m not going to start now. Whatever Top Rank wants for me. If they demand a rematch, I’m ready to give Richard Commey a rematch because he deserves it and I have the utmost respect for him. Ultimately, my goal is to win a world title once again. Whatever I have to do, that’s what I’m willing to do.”
A rematch could occur in December or early 2023.