By Francisco Salazar
It was about five months ago when Isaac Zarate dropped a close decision to Erick Ituarte. The loss extended his winless streak to three and the thought of becoming a stepping stone or gatekeeper for young featherweights was becoming more of a reality.
One fight and an impressive victory later, Zarate has breathed new life to his pro career, one he hopes will continue down a path toward contender status.
Zarate returns to action tonight, facing former world title challenger Christian Esquivel at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California.
The eight round bout will headline a Thompson Boxing Promotions card and will be streamed live on ThompsonBoxing.com and on the Thompson Boxing Facebook page.
Zarate (13-3-2, 2 knockouts), who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of San Pedro, won an eight round unanimous decision over former world title challenger Carlos Carlson in his last bout on July 21.
Esquivel (30-13, 23 KOs) fought for the vacant WBC bantamweight title, losing to Shinsuke Yamanaka by knockout in round 11. He has lost four of his last six bouts.
"I'm not worried about his power," said Zarate, who turned 26 on Sept. 25. "I'm a pressure fighter so I won't give him the chance to throw anything big."
Zarate is another fighter who is promoted by Thompson Boxing, the longtime company that has promoted fights since 2000. It has promoted a who's who of fighters over the last several years, including Timothy Bradley, Mauricio Herrera, Josesito Lopez, Yonnhy Perez, and Danny Roman, who won a world title belt at 122 pounds on Sept. 3.
Zarate does spar regularly with Roman in Southern California.
No fighter wants to lose, but Zarate does believe the close losses and draws are a silver lining to what he hopes will be a long and productive career where he can be a legit contender.
"It's the perfect time to start another winning streak," said Zarate, who is trained and managed by Eddie Gonzalez. "I've had a some recent setbacks, but I feel as though I've elevated my game (during) the last five months. I'm ready to put on a show (Friday night)."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing