William Zepeda has the desire to face the best at 135 pounds. Unfortunately, he cannot force the best to face him.
The unbeaten lightweight is hoping for a collision course against any of the top contenders or world titleholders, and his confident an opportunity will come sooner rather than later.
Zepeda will face Rene Alvarado of Nicaragua tonight at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. The 10-round bout will precede the main event bout between light heavyweight contender Gilberto Ramirez and Dominic Boesel.
Tonight’s clash between Zepeda and Alvarado should be a fan-favorite as both throw a high volume of punches and will likely stand in the pocket. Alvarado is moving up in weight after holding a secondary version of a junior lightweight title, but has lost his last three fights.
Despite Alvarado being on the downside of his career, Zepeda (25-0, 23 knockouts) of San Mateo Atenco, Mexico is not taking his opponent lightly.
“I know that he is a fighter who is strong and has a lot of experience,” Zepeda told BoxingScene earlier this week. “We understand the quality of fighter he is and the talent he possesses. We have seen his fights and studied videos of him. We prepared as best we could in the gym and we’re excited to face these types of fighters that challenge us and we will demonstrate our capabilities as well.
“The trick is to work hard and win the fight, round-by-round. At the same time, we want to appease the spectators because (tonight) will be a great fight.”
Zepeda is coming off a third round knockout win over Luis Angel Viedas in his last bout on February 19. The victory over Viedas was Zepeda’s 15th consecutive knockout win.
Up to the round when the knockout was scored, Zepeda had difficulties dealing with Viedas awkward style and movement, bringing about criticism from boxing fans that he is a one-dimensional fighter. Zepeda was also hard on himself as he is confident he can learn from the fight and can get much better.
“I learned a lot in that fight,” said Zepeda, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and managed by Jaime Picos. “I think that’s the fight where I learned the most. I learned not to get desperate and learned to box more and break down my opponent that way. I tried to make the fight happen and went on the attack, but my opponent didn’t want to engage. I was disappointed that I did not look good or did not fight to the best of my ability. I like challenges, so I was hard on myself as well. I just have to learn from this and take each fight, round-by-round, and not fight in the style of my opponents.”
The 25-year-old would like the opportunity to face a top contender later this year, should he get by Alvarado. Against that opponent remains to be seen, but there are options for Zepeda to face, including former world lightweight challenger Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz and unbeaten Ryan Garcia.
Zepeda is open to facing any top fighter later this year or in early 2023.
“We want to come out victorious from this fight with Alvarado,” said Zepeda. “Afterwards, we will talk with my team, the promoters, and see what is next. We are focused on this (Alvarado) fight 100 percent. There are a lot of big names at 135 pounds. There’s lots of talent. The lightweight division is one of the toughest in boxing because there fighters are young, fighters with experience, fighters with power, fighters with speed. There are fighters of every background in this division. It’s complicated to be at that level, but I believe we’re talented to fight against the top fighters in the division.
“The opportunity will come for me. We’ve been at this weight for a while. We will still keep working hard to get the opportunity to fight for a world title. Outside of that, it depends on the other fighters if they want to give us that opportunity.”
The southpaw Zepeda also has the option of moving up to 140 pounds as well.
“I would like to stay at 135 pounds, but I know my body is growing. We feel great at this weight but there will be a time when I will have to go up in weight and face the best in that division at 140 pounds.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing