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Bubble bummer: Pedraza vs LesPierre bout off due to positive COVID-19 test

Written By | Jun 18, 2020
Gabriel Flores Jr. (left) and Josec Ruiz can seize the moment Thursday as they take over the main event on ESPN due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Gabriel Flores Jr. (left) and Josec Ruiz can seize the moment Thursday as they take over the main event on ESPN due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 18, 2020 – Tonight’s main event between Jose Pedraza and Mikkel LesPierre on Top Rank’s ESPN boxing series was canceled when LesPierre’s manager, Jose Taveras, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier Thursday.

As a result of the positive test, LesPierre and anyone in contact with Taveras is also barred from participating. The card will still continue with the original co-main bout between lightweights Gabriel Flores Jr. and Josec Ruiz elevated to the main event. The start time remains 8 p.m. ET/PT on  ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

Jose "Sniper" Pedraza and Mikkel LesPierre were ready to rumble until a positive COVID-19 test derailed their bout. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing Pedraza vs LesPierre

Jose “Sniper” Pedraza and Mikkel LesPierre were ready to rumble until a positive COVID-19 test derailed their bout. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Participants are tested two days prior to bouts, and on the day of the bout (Sunday and Tuesday, or Tuesday and Thursday).

“I understand the severity of COVID-19 because I have been working on the front lines of helping treat this virus at Mount Sinai Beth Israel—Petrie Division in Manhattan,” said LesPierre. LesPierre works a full-time job on the front desk at Beth Israel’s Ear, Nose, and Throat unit. He could have taken a leave of absence when the unit shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead , he stayed on to assist nurses and doctors by providing them with life-saving personal protective equipment and deliveries. So far he has not tested positive.




Mikkel LesPierre isn’t just a boxer, he’s a frontline healthcare worker in New York. Photo: Courtesy Mikkel LesPierre

“I am devastated,” said LesPierre. “This was my opportunity to showcase my talent to the world, but everything happens for a reason. This is just another roadblock in my story. I apologize to Jose and his team for any inconvenience this caused. He is a great boxer, and I hope we can reschedule the fight as soon as possible.”

Taveras apologized for the situation. “I am not exhibiting any symptoms. I am looking forward to hopefully rescheduling this fight as soon as possible. I am devastated for Mikkel.”

Yes, it’s a disappointment Pedraza vs LesPierre won’t take place, but it proves the system TopRank put into place for participant safety is working.

Flores Jr. vs Ruiz elevated to the spotlight

Gabriel Flores Jr. kills some time in "The Bubble" by challenging David Kamisky to a ping pong battle. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Gabriel Flores Jr. kills some time in “The Bubble” by challenging David Kamisky to a ping pong battle. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

The circumstances puts the spotlight on Flores Jr. of Stockton, California (17-0, 6 KOs) and Ruiz, a Honduras native fighting out of Miami, Florida  (21-2-3, 14 KOs).

Flores, age 20, last appeared on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury 2 undercard. This will be his first scheduled ten round fight. Flores signed with Top Rank when he was 16 years old, put 10,000 spectators into the seats at his hometown Stockton Arena last May to become another of Top Rank’s big regional ticket-sellers following Jose Ramirez in Fresno. Flores is trained by his father, Gabriel Sr.

The 25-year-old Ruiz, nicknamed “Escorpion,” is unbeaten in his last 16 bouts.

Unbeaten David Kaminsky leads undercard lineup

David Kamisky takes on “zero killer” Clay Collard. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

David “The Lion of Zion” Kaminsky (6-0, 3 KOs) will face noted spoiler Clay Collard (6-2-3, 2 KOs) in a six-round super middleweight contest. Collard is an MMA veteran taking a shot at boxing. He has been a zero killer, defeating two unbeaten prospects in his two most recent bouts.

Robert Rodriguez of Riverside (7-0-1, 3 KOs) will face fellow unbeaten fighter Adrian Servin of Phoenix (9-0-1, 3 KOs). The 20-year-old Rodrigez and 23-year-old Servin have everything to gain and a zero to lose by putting on a great show tonight in their six-round bantamweight fight.

Frevian Gonzalez and Jose Martinez face off. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Nineteen-year-old Puerto Rican super featherweight Frevian Gonzalez (2-0, 1 KO) will fight Jose Martinez (2-1, 1 KO) of Los Angeles.

Victor Rodriguez and Justin Horsley mask it up at Wednesday’s weigh-in. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Another unbeaten 19-year-old, super lightweight Victor Rodriguez (2-0, 1 KO) of Stanton, California faces local Las Vegas fighter Justin Horsley (0-1).



Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.  Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Copyright © 2020 by Falcon Valley Group

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.