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Boxingscene.com

Saucedo Hopes Solid Win Over Lenny Z Will Bring Maurice Hooker

by Francisco Salazar

Alex Saucedo is facing Lenny Zappavigna tonight on ESPN, but he also has battles he wants to win outside of the ring. Those battles are close to him and where he grew up on the south side of his hometown of Oklahoma City.

Those battles are trying to keep kids and teenagers on the straight and narrow so they could fulfill their dreams just as Saucedo is doing.

Many of those young kids and teenagers from his neighborhood will be in attendance as Saucedo faces Zappavigna in a 10 round crossroads bout at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The fight will open the ESPN telecast (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

saucedo-lenny-z (1)

After fighting several times on 'Solo Boxeo' broadcasts and across the country in Las Vegas and Southern California, Saturday night will be a homecoming for Saucedo, who has not fought in the Oklahoma City area since September of 2014.

Saucedo (27-0, 17 knockouts) is grateful for the opportunity to fight in his hometown and on ESPN.

It's going to be a great opportunity," Saucedo told BoxingScene.com in a recent interview. "It's an ESPN (telecast). It's going to be huge. We believe it's going to be the biggest boxing event in Oklahoma history. Hopefully the whole city can come out and support. Ticket sales are going well. I'm very motivated and I'm hoping for everyone to come out and support."

"Everyone is looking forward to me fighting at home."

The 24-year-old Saucedo last fought on Mar. 10 in Carson, Calif., knocking out gatekeeper Abner Lopez in round seven.

Zappavigna (37-3, 27 KOs), who goes by the nickname of 'Lenny Z' will be the toughest test on paper so far for Saucedo. Zappavigna, who is from Leppington, Australia, has won his last two bouts since his eighth round knockout loss to Sergey Lipinets in December of 2010.

"Lenny Z. is a good opponent to come out and give Oklahoma City a good fight," said Saucedo. "He's a guy that comes forward and has a good knockout percentage. I believe it's going to be a great fight."

Saucedo has been trained by Abel Sanchez, famous for also training Gennedy Golovkin, for almost two years. Saucedo has gotten solid sparring against the likes of Ryan Martin and Denis Shafikov, which has made him self-assess his growth as a fighter.

"(Abel has me) be more intelligent with my punches. Connect my punches right. Don't waste any punches. We work on setting up my punches. We work on setting up to perfectly throw our punches."

Saucedo as played a role in not only putting Oklahoma City on the boxing map, but also serving as a mentor to the youth of the city.

When not training in Big Bear Lake, Saucedo speaks at local elementary, junior high, and high schools, promoting a drug-free lifestyle and to pursue academic and personal dreams and goals.

Having migrated to Oklahoma City at the age of seven from the Meoqui, Chihuahua, Mexico, Saucedo sees himself in many of these young teenagers.

"I grew up on the south side of Oklahoma City. I talk to all the kids there. Everyone from the south side sees some of the drug problems there, but I tell the kids to work hard and be dedicated to become whatever you want to be. You'll make it as long as you have the right mindset and you're smart."

"We go through the Police Activities League (PAL) to talk to kids at the schools. I have guys that come up to me and asking me for advice and I tell them to stay positive. We try to keep them on the right track. I have a boxing gym. There's guys that go through a rough, bad situation and I make sure to give them advice and keep their mind right."

Should Saucedo come out victorious, he believes a world title shot will be in play.

"I see myself winning a world title here real soon. We got to get a good win out of Lenny Z. and then after that, we're ready for Maurice Hooker. That's what we're looking for after this fight. We got to get this out of the way to go for that."

Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Mammoth on 06-30-2018

Does he realize the WBSS is starting for his division?

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (1)
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