Pick It: TBRB #9 Jose Zepeda vs. Kendo Castaneda (Tuesday, ESPN, 8 PM EST)
Luck hasn’t always been on the side of Jose Zepeda (31-2, 25 KO). He went on the road for a chance at a vacant lightweight belt in 2015 and suffered a shoulder injury just two rounds in. He had to go to the hometown of Jose Ramirez for a crack at Jr. welterweight gold and walked away with a majority decision loss in a hell of an effort.
Tuesday he was supposed to follow up one of the best wins of his career, a victory over former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza, with a showdown against another former titlist in Ivan Baranchyk. Instead, an injury to Baranchyk means a late replacement foe. As luck would have it for fans, the replacement has some game. Castaneda (17-1, 8 KO) is coming off a narrow defeat in a clash of young undefeated hopefuls and bit on a week’s notice. This one feels like it could be fun. So does a super lightweight clash on the undercard between Andy Vences (23-1-1, 12 KO) and Luis Vargas (20-2, 11 KO). Both men are coming in off wins and neither has ever been stopped.
Additional Show to Watch For
Thursday – Takam vs. Forrest (ESPN, 8 PM EST)
The backstory on this main event has been a bigger deal than the fight on tap. This was supposed to be the return of Jarrell Miller. That return is delayed, to say the least. Carlos Takam (38-5-1, 28 KO) would have been a good foe for Miller and now he’s gone from opponent to perceived favorite. The former title challenger has struggled to get past a certain level of the game but the 39-year old has proven a good litmus test for the line between contender or not. Forrest (26-3, 20 KO) has won 19 of his last 20 and has a national audience to show where his hopes might lie. The real attraction for viewers may come earlier in the night as undefeated Carlos Castro (25-0, 10 KO) takes on salty veteran Cesar Juarez (25-8, 19 KO). Juarez runs hot and cold but on his better nights can make a young fighter like Castro get better on the job.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org