By: Sean Crose
Undefeated lightweight William Zepeda squared off against popular veteran Mercito Gesta Saturday night in Commerce, California. Their scheduled twelve rounder was the main event of a Golden Boy card broadcast live on DAZN. Coming in at 27 years of age, and with a 28-0 record, the rising and hard hitting (all but four of his fights had ended by knockout) Zepeda was was clearly the favorite, but the 34-3-3 Gesta’s previous bout had ended with a surprising win over Joseph Diaz. The question, then, was could the 35 year old Filipino deliver another upset on Saturday night?
The first round saw each fighter trying to dictate the tempo – Gesta with an in and out strategy and Zepeda through aggression behind an effective jab. Both fighters decided to do battle in the proverbial phone booth in the second. Toe to toe, they engaged in high octane, prolonged infighting. It was Zepeda’s body work, however, which seemed to be doing the greater amount of damage. In the third, Zepeda launched such a furious attack that it was worth wondering if Gesta would go down or Zepeda would run out of gas.
Zepeda continued to employ his power punching strategy in the fourth while Gesta somehow remained on his feet. Having been bloodied in the previous round, Gesta appeared to double his efforts to avoid Zepeda in the fifth. He couldn’t do it. Zepeda kept bulling in, firing power shot after power shot. With the relentless beating continuing into the sixth, Gesta’s corner wisely stepped in and stopped the fight. Credit belonged to Gesta for his courage and incredible endurance (he never went down). The night, however, certainly belonged to the very impressive Zepeda.
“I am ready for Devin Haney,” Zepeda said after the fight. A battle between he and Haney would indeed by interesting. Haney, after all, is an incredibly slick and polished ring practitioner while Zepeda is all effective aggression. Should Haney leave the lightweight division in the dust, however, there are still plenty of big name opponents for Zepeda to possibly face, Teofimo Lopez, George Kambosos, Vasyl Lomachenko, and Shakur Stevenson to mention just a few. The truth is that Zepeda could very well be trouble for each and every one of those individuals, which is why his name now needs to a part of the divisional conversation.
The lightweight division certainly may be loaded, but after Saturday night, it’s time for Zepeda to be considered among it’s upper echelon.
*Image: Golden Boy
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