Cris Esqueda photo for Golden Boy Promotions
Lightweight William Zepeda did the expected by getting rid of Jaime Arboleda in two rounds at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. As usual 'Camaron' fought like he had dinner reservations later that night and got to work quickly, and thrashed his foe with an assortment of body shots.
This fight ended so quickly, Oscar De La Hoya, could actually go meet the press afterwards and fulfill his own dinner plans on this particular weekend.
Arboleda (19-3, 14 KOs) was sent to the canvas three times in the second round due to a withering body attack.
As I like to say, Zepeda (28-0, 24 KOs) did 'the Chris Rock' -- he did what he's supposed to do by getting rid of Arboleda, who's really a natural junior lightweight. But in this game, it isn't just if you win but how, that is oftentimes just as important. This bout was originally scheduled to be a part of the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia undercard, but when Virgil Ortiz was over-trained back into rhabdomyolysis once again, the Golden Boy brass decided to fill this spot in San Antonio with Zepeda.
This whirlwind southpaw is an all-action, TV-friendly fighter. At 26 years old he's entering his physical prime. There's no doubt that given his style and demeanor that he can be a favorite among the Mexican fan base.
The question is at this point just where he ranks at 135. There's no question that the top of the division belongs to undisputed champion, Devin Haney. And then you have 'Tank' Davis, who isn't just among the elite of the division, but it's biggest draw. Then you have the likes of Vasiliy Lomachenko (who faces Haney on May 20), the ultra talented Shakur Stevenson, who has just entered the fray.
Isaac Cruz, George Kambosos and Frank Martin round out the lightweight class.
According to Ring Magazine, Zepeda is rated number eight. In terms of the sanctioning bodies, he is sixth in the WBO, fifth in the WBC, and the WBA has him third. It's clear that the consensus is that Zepeda is at the very least a legitimate world-class contender.
Yeah, you could argue that much of this is based on the eye test, but if you scan his resume' you do see some recognizable names like Hector Tanajara, Rene Alvarado and Joseph Diaz. In today's watered down game his resume' is really no different than most contenders at this stage.
In the four-belt era with various promoters having exclusive content deals with networks/streaming services. It's not really about who you should fight, but who you can -- and then picking the most vulnerable belt-holder.
For Zepeda, he may have to become a mandatory challenger to get his title shot at 135 given his pressuring, suffocating style. But his handlers didn't seem too eager to really see if a fight with Stevenson could be made. But again, Golden Boy wasn't going to let that fight just happen on ESPN after the investment they have made into him the past few years. Maybe it could be revisited as a unification contest should both win major titles in the future.
It's clear that Golden Boy is making him a priority moving forward. This business is all about having bankable commodities, and there's a reason why they chose to showcase him on his own card this past weekend, rather than the pay-per-view undercard. They need some attractions. Who knows how their relationship with Ryan Garcia will play out in the future, 'Zurdo' Ramirez recently missed weight (by a whole weight class), and Jaime Munguia's level of opposition is regressing.
After three outings in 2022, it would be prudent to get him out there that many times this year. A summer bout with veteran, Mercito Gesta, makes sense.
Who knows how Zepeda fares against the likes of Haney, Davis and Stevenson (he'd be the underdog versus that trio) but against the rest of the division, it says here that he has a shot. Regardless, I -- along with many other followers of the sport -- would like to see it.
“We prepared for a complicated fight, he was hungry to make a point,” Zepeda said on Saturday night after his latest win. “We had planned to go to the body the first couple of rounds and end it at the top, but we were able to finish the job early with just getting him at the body. I will prove to the world that I am the best at 135. I want to fight the best world champions out there.
"I signed up for boxing not ballet.”
He may not ever be a true star, but at the very least Golden Boy has a guy that wants to fight.
On this undercard, Victor Morales scored an eye-opening second round stoppage of Diego De La Hoya....It's been announced that on June 24 at the Armory in Minneapolis that a bout between Carlos Adames and Julian Williams will headline a Showtime broadcast....There are some reports/rumors circulating of an early summer bout between the aforementioned Munguia and Sergey Derevyanchenko....A junior welterweight showdown between Sergey Lipinets and Elvis Rodriguez is being brandied about for July as part of the card that will feature a possible welterweight showdown that will NOT be discussed till it's finalized....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.....