There is far too much at stake for William Zepeda to look beyond Mexican Independence Day.
Of course, he is fighting on that date to prepare for the opportunities he expects to come beyond that date.
The unbeaten lightweight contender is set for his September 16 DAZN main event versus Mercito Gesta at The Commerce Casino and Hotel in Commerce, California. A win in their upcoming crossroads bout should position Mexico’s Zepeda to challenge for at least one lightweight title.
For now, the target remains Devin Haney (30-0, 15KOs), the lineal and WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champ. However, the big fight that Zepeda sees on the horizon is one that isn’t immediately embraced by other lightweights.
“Devin Haney is the champion right now, so he would obviously become our target. But if he moves up, to be honest the big fight I see in our future would be Shakur Stevenson,” Zepeda told BoxingScene.com. “He is a tremendous talent and he is getting ready to fight for the WBC title that is now available.
“So, if Devin Haney decides to not come back, the best fight possible I see being out there for us is versus Shakur.”
Haney was already downgraded to WBC ‘Champion in Recess’ for his decision to pursue a shot at WBC junior welterweight titlist Regis Prograis in lieu of a mandatory title defense versus Stevenson.
A vacant title fight was ordered between Stevenson (20-0,10KOs) and Frank Martin (18-0, 12KOs), for which a deal was reached in principle to take place November 16 in Las Vegas. However, Martin’s side declined to move forward with the fight once it came time to sign contracts. Stevenson is now on the hunt for a new opponent.
[Writer’s note: The interview which produced the quotes provided by Zepeda predated the recent Shakur Stevenson-Frank Martin fallout.]
Zepeda (28-0, 24KOs) is ranked in the top ten among all four major sanctioning bodies. He is currently number two in the WBA and number five in the WBC. There is a chance the 27-year-old southpaw from San Mateo Atenco can move up a little higher with a win on September 16 and even more so once the WBC title vacancy is filled.
For now, Zepeda is focused on conquering Gesta (34-3-3, 17KOs), a 35-year-old Filipino based in San Diego. With a win, the expectation is to then face the best possible lightweight out there for his first major title.
“We are definitely keeping on Devin Haney’s movements, if he decides to stay (at lightweight) or if he will move up and vacate all the titles,” noted Zepeda. “Obviously, all our focus is on Mercito Gesta. But we are taking this fight because we want to be ready to fight for the world title.
“Once that opportunity arises, we hope to either challenge Devin or fight for whatever titles are available.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox