Unbeaten lightweight contender William Zepeda did as was widely expected last night in stopping Filipino veteran Mercito Gesta. In a battle of southpaws that took place on Mexican Independence Day, the 27 year old Mexican scored an exciting if wholly one-sided sixth round stoppage over the former two-time 135 pound title challenger (Gesta losing to Miguel Vazquez in 2012 and to Jorge Linares in 2018, both fights going the limit).
Zepeda came out fast and his unrelenting pressure was too much for Gesta, and for his corner. The end came in the sixth, with both the losing man’s team and referee Jack Reiss having seen enough. Zepeda, now 29-0(25) wants a big fight next. Gesta, who has now been stopped twice, falls to 34-4-3(17) and it’s tough to see where the 35 year old goes from here.
Zepeda may not be a big name (not yet) but he has an exciting style and approach, he is willing to rumble with the best, and Zepeda is a likeable, easy to root for guy. And Zepeda is calling for the big fights. Right before last night’s win in California, Zepeda was stating how a fight with Tank Davis would be a great one for him. While after hammering Gesta, Zepeda called out Devin Haney. If we’re honest about it, there doesn’t seem to be too much chance of Zepeda getting his hands on either big fight.
Haney is moving up to 140, and although he could move back down after his scheduled fight with Regis Prograis, it wouldn’t be for a fight with Zepeda, it would be for a massive fight with Shakur Stevenson. Tank has no official foe confirmed for his next fight, but he too is looking for the massive fights. Zepeda may get his chance one day, but it doesn’t look like coming in his next fight.
But Zepeda is certainly an excellent and fun fighter to watch, and one would think he would get a world title opportunity one day, so long as he keeps on winning. A good body puncher (aren’t all Mexican fighters proficient at going to the body!), Zepeda has also shown a good chin, a great engine, and a very high punch output. In short, there’s nothing not to like. Let’s see what Oscar De La Hoya does with Zepeda next. Interestingly, Oscar said last night that Zepeda could fight at both 135 and at 140: “Sky’s the limit for him,” De La Hoya said of Zepeda. “He’s only getting better. William Zepeda will be a dangerous fighter for anyone at 135, even 140. I’m really looking forward to him facing everyone and beating everyone at 135.”