If we're talking strictly skills, Richardson Hitchins had the edge. The tools in his toolbox are about as sharp as you can find. He also has things that you simply can’t teach. Yet, even with his speed and obvious natural talent, Jose Zepeda was expected to push Hitchins. Officially, the 25-year-old went from the kitty side of the pool to the deep end.
This past Saturday night, at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida, Jose Zepeda wasn’t interested in getting into a jabbing contest. Nor was he looking to show that his abilities were just as good. Instead, it was all about mind-numbing power and underappreciated tricks. None, however, had an effect on Hitchins.
Looking back, it was boxing’s typical passing of the torch moment. It never happens willingly. The old lion always believes that he has more in the tank than he actually does while giving the young guy all he can handle.
Maybe there was a bit of sweat forming at the top of Hitchins’ forehead. But from the looks of things, he didn’t worry about the clear experience gap that was in his man’s favor.
Every round was essentially rinse and repeat. Hitchins would land whenever he wanted while Zepeda was forced to lunge in and swing at air. By the time the final bell rang, Hitchins (17-0, 7 KOs) looked like he went on a quick jog around the block. There were no bruises, no huffing and puffing to catch his breath, and most importantly, there was no denying who won their showdown.
Hitchins wants them all. By them, we're talking about the best at 140 pounds. From Teofimo Lopez to Devin Haney, hell, throw in Rolando Romero as well. Although there are still a few dubious voices echoing in the background telling him to back off and take his time, Hitchins is throwing on his ear muffs.
Fighting for a world title is what he wants most but with just 17 pro fights under his belt, there’s a lot for Hitchins to improve upon in the interim. If the super light division is paying attention, they’ll see Hitchins coming. Their best chance will be now, not in the future, but right now. If the division's elite isn’t willing to face him immediately, Hitchins knows that his experience will only continue to grow, making it impossible for him to come out on the losing end once he's a finished product.
“I never fought somebody with the experience that Zepeda had and I felt like I dominated,” said Hitchins to a group of reporters. “I’m getting more experience. Look at how I looked in my first main event in 17 fights. Give me a few more fights and I’m a be an unstoppable force.”