LAS VEGAS – Jose Zepeda was more than surprised when his handlers informed him that the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to approve Pedro Campa as his upcoming opponent.
Mexico’s Campa is 32-1-1 and has knocked out 21 of his opponents. The 29-year-old Campa hasn’t faced a high level of opposition, but Zepeda is just seven months removed from a brutal battle against Ivan Baranchyk in which Zepeda got up from four knockdowns to knock Baranchyk unconscious in the fifth round of their epic encounter.
Zepeda (33-2, 26 KOs, 2 NC), of La Puente, California, instead will face Philadelphia’s Hank Lundy (31-8-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round junior welterweight fight ESPN will air as the co-feature before the Jose Ramirez-Josh Taylor 140-pound title unification fight Saturday night at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Campa had been announced as Zepeda’s opponent before NSAC executive director Bob Bennett emailed executives for Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. to inform them that Campa wasn’t an acceptable opponent.
“It’s crazy because the state commission of Nevada has approved many other fights that are really uneven,” Zepeda told BoxingScene.com. “Everybody was saying, ‘Why would you not accept this fight?’ This guy was I believe  and 1, with  KOs. So, I have no idea. At the end of the day, they can do what they wanna do. But it’s kinda sad because everyone knows they have approved worse fights, or fights that are uneven.”
Nevertheless, the 31-year-old Zepeda considers Lundy a respectable replacement for Campa, who beat Venezuelan veteran Carlos Cardenas (26-19-1, 16 KOs) by majority decision in his last fight, an eight-rounder February 6 in Hermosillo, Mexico. The 37-year-old Lundy has seven more losses and is eight years older than Campa, but he has faced much better opponents overall.
Unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) and former WBC super lightweight champ Viktor Postol (31-3, 12 KOs) are among the opponents who have defeated Lundy.
“I really like this fight because he’s a veteran,” Zepeda said. “He’s been in this game for a long time. He’s not an easy target. He’s a boxer and he’s gonna give me a lot of experience. I even think he’s gonna give me more experience than if I would’ve fought Pedro Campa. So, everything came out perfect because I feel Hank Lundy’s gonna give it his all and it’s a new style for me, I believe. I haven’t fought somebody like Hank Lundy.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.