Richardson Hitchins smiled at those who questioned whether or not he was ready to take his career to the next level. His talent was undeniable but with less than 20 fights under his belt, taking on a veteran like Jose Zepeda might’ve been more than he could chew. Hitchins, through it all, was never worried about what the former title challenger could bring to the table. Simply put, the one-time Olympian knew that he would dominate. He was right.
This past Saturday night, at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida, Hitchins pitched a virtual shutout. No matter how hard the 34-year-old veteran tried, his offense was innocuous, leading to a wide unanimous decision loss.
From the moment Hitchins (17-0, 7 KOs) threw on his first pair of gloves, he wasn’t taught to get into all-out wars. Instead, he was shown the art of hit and not get hit. From that standpoint, Hitchins executed perfectly. However, boxing isn’t a sport where risk-averse fighters normally receive the biggest payday.
During long portions of his one-sided victory, fans that filled the arena booed Hitchins mercilessly. Still, even with their jeers cascading upon him, Hitchins wasn’t worried about their displeasure. He merely continued to box on the outside, grab and hold when Zepeda got too close and refused to get into protracted firefights.
With the biggest win of his career safely in his back pocket, Hitchins reflects on those moments when the crowd wasn't entertained. From a tactical point of view, Hitchins believes he was practically perfect. That said, Hitchins knows that he has to give fans a bit more bang for their buck if he wants to become a household name.
“I know this is a show business,” Hitchins told a group of reporters. “I know I gotta be more exciting. I’m a keep criticizing myself in that department.”
There’s a thin line between stepping on the gas and fighting smart. Before officially getting into the ring with the former title challenger, Hitchins studied Zepeda. After doing so, he knew that the 34-year-old could crack with the best of them. So, even though there were times when Hitchins believed he had his man in trouble, thanks to Zepeda’s power, he didn’t feel the need to go balls to the wall.
“I hurt him with a body shot, I also hurt him with a right hand. I seen blood coming but I wasn’t sure. He was keeping his poker face. I didn’t want to push the action and get caught with a big shot. Zepeda has one-punch power. I felt it from round one.”