Manager's positive COVID-19 test forces cancellation of Jose Pedraza-Mikkel LesPierre bout on ESPN

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
The manager of lightweight Mikkel LesPierre (R) tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, forcing the cancellation of his bout against Jose Pedraza, which had been slated to be the main event of an ESPN card tonight in Las Vegas. (Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

LAS VEGAS — The manager of lightweight boxer Mikkel LesPierre tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19, forcing the cancellation of LesPierre’s bout against Jose Pedraza, which was slated to be the main event Thursday on an ESPN-televised card from the MGM Grand Conference Center.

Jose Tavares, LesPierre’s manager, was tested upon checking into Top Rank’s bubble at the MGM Grand on June 14, and was negative. He was tested again, per Nevada Athletic Commission protocol, following Wednesday’s weigh-in. The result was positive when it was returned early Thursday.

The decision to cancel the bout was made by the Nevada commission.

“We had no choice in the matter because this is the commission’s protocol via the contact tracing,” Top Rank COO Brad Jacobs told Yahoo Sports.

A lightweight bout between 20-year-old prospect Gabriel Flores (17-0, 6 KOs) and Josec Ruiz (21-2-3, 14 KOs) was moved into the main event, Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. A bettor at the MGM Grand Sports Book bet nearly $200,000 Wednesday on Flores to win, which would earn $4,173.95.

This is the second Top Rank bout canceled since it resumed doing shows following the lockdown created as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in March. Mikaela Mayer’s June 9 bout against Helen Joseph was canceled when she tested positive, though she said she believes it was a false positive since she tested negative shortly afterward.

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