Top Rank on ESPN’s main event between Jose Pedraza and Mikkel LesPierre tonight has been canceled after LesPierre’s manager, Jose Taveras, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this morning. The lightweight battle was scheduled for 10 rounds in Las Vegas in Top Rank’s “bubble” at the MGM Grand.
This becomes the first cancellation of a main event for Top Rank, since they resumed fight cards starting last week. Unbeaten women’s contender Mikaela Mayer tested positive for Coronavirus two days prior to her 10 round bout scheduled for June 9th. Mayer maintained that she was not contagious and that she was only positive from having the antibodies. She was then medically cleared by an independent doctor late last week to resume fighting.
Said LesPierre Thursday: “My manager, Jose Taveras, tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the rules and regulations set forth by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, I will be unable to fight tonight as scheduled against Jose Pedraza. 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.
Official update on tonight's main event on ESPN: pic.twitter.com/BWIWvC4Zox
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) June 18, 2020
“I am devastated. 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.”
Said Taveras: “I apologize for the inconvenience this caused. I am not exhibiting any symptoms. I am looking forward to hopefully rescheduling this fight as soon as possible. I am devastated for Mikkel.”
LesPierre was looking forward to the bout, has experienced this impact of COVID-19 seeing it first hand as he is a front line working for a New York City Hospital. He was looking to rebound from his last time out in the ring last year, when he lost by unanimous decision to Maurice Hooker last March.
LesPierre told BoxingScene.com, “In the beginning, I can admit I was a little naïve. I was like, ‘All right, this is probably some type of government propaganda and so forth.’ But to be in the heart of it, to see that it actually is real and to take that naïve sense that I had about it out of my brain, to see that people are being affected by it and it is having an impact on the current state of New York, that it wasn’t just something happening in China, it was something that really humbled me and put things into perspective.
I saw patients sick, some on ventilators, some being transferred from different units, ICU units. I saw dead bodies get rolled out through the loading dock, to vans and trucks that were placed out front.
Tough break for LesPierre as his fight becomes another scrapped because of this. With Flores now being the main event, we’ll see how this shakes out as there was a wacky bet placed in on that we reported yesterday.