Undefeated lightweight contender William Zepeda (29-0, 25 KOs) totally massacred the 35-year-old Mercito Gesta (34-4-3, 17 KOs) by a sixth round knockout on Saturday night in the main event on DAZN.
The Golden Boy fighter Zepeda, who Oscar De La Hoya sees as the next superstar for the lightweight division, threw an enormous amount of punches in each round, averaging over 100, en route to stopping the veteran Gesta in round six at the Commerce Casino & Hotel in Commerce, California.
A round earlier, the referee Jack Reiss had warned Gesta that he would have to stop the contest if he didn’t stay off the ropes because he was too much punishment, covering up and being shelled unceasingly by 27-year-old Zepeda.
Gesta came out in the center of the ring in round six, and traded shots with Zepeda before he was forced to flee, circling the ring in a retreat mode.
But once again, Gesta backed up to the ropes under pressure from Zepeda and shelled up while he downloaded on him just as he’d been doing in rounds one through five.
Finally, Gesta’s corner wisely had the fight stopped to save their badly beaten fighter, who looked like a mess with his badly swollen face.
Zepeda threw 618 punches in the six rounds, landing 286, with many of them being power shots. Gesta’s face looked like he’d been in a 12-round instead of a fight that was halted at the halfway point of round six at 1:31.
After the fight, Zepeda called out Devin Haney, the undisputed lightweight champion, who has already left the division to move up to 140. That fight has zero chance of happening.
Gesta looked like he had no way of escaping the nonstop pressure that the 27-year-old Zepeda was putting on him tonight, as wherever he went, he was cornered and forced to retreat to the ropes, which where he was getting worked over each time.
If Gesta had better power, defensive skills, and mobility, he would have had a better chance of winning, but he had nothing to keep the bigger fighter Zepeda off him.
A guy with power like Gervonta Davis or Edwin De Los Santos would have been a problem for Zepeda tonight because he was there to be hit, but Gesta was too small for the job. Gesta looked like a super featherweight fighting a large 140-pounder tonight, going up against the light welterweight-sized Zepeda.
Gesta looked like he was close to being stopped in round two when he backed up against the ropes and was hit with a nonstop flurry of shots from Zepeda. Referee Jack Reiss was watching intently, looking like he was ready to wave it off.
We saw the same thing happen in rounds three, four, and five, with Gesta fighting with his back against the ropes, getting buried with shots from Zepeda, who mixed up his punches well, going from body to head.
In the fifth, Gesta opened up the body, giving Zepeda a free target and missing his attempts to hit him back. Zepada punished Gesta badly in that round, and Reiss looked like he was ready to stop the fight.
Gesta was smiling at Zepeda to try and show that his shots didn’t phase him, but it was clear from beaten up his face that he was at the end of the line and needed to be pulled out of the fight.
It’ll be interesting to see who #2 WBA Zepeda eventually faces for his title shot because it won’t be against Haney. When the belt is eventually freed, Zepeda will face the highest-ranked contender that is willing to face him, which could be Isaac Cruz, Frank Martin, Vasily Lomachenko, or Floyd Schofield.
As for Gesta, he should move down to 130 because he’s too small to be competing at lightweight against guys like Zepeda.