The outcome of his last fight was never going to discourage Danielito Zorrilla from moving forward in his career.

A rough-and-tumble affair with Ruslan Madiyev (13-2, 5KOs) ended with Zorrilla having to celebrate a split decision victory in the hospital due to repeated rabbit punches in their March 4 clash in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Zorrilla (15-0, 11KOs) was unable to continue after a blow to the base of his skull midway through round eight, forcing the bout to go to the scorecards.

Madiyev was deducted two points—one in round six and again in round eight—which ultimately proved the difference between a split draw and the eventual win for Zorrilla. It was far from his finest hour, though a fight he had to get through to proceed in his quest for junior welterweight title contention. With that comes a significant next step versus Mexico’s Pablo Cesar Cano (33-7-1, 23KOs) this Saturday, live on DAZN from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

“That was not my night,” Zorrilla admitted during the final pre-fight press conference held Thursday in the Star Ballroom at Omni Frisco Hotel. “But we got the win and I’m leaving it in the past. I’m ready to fight. August 14, I am coming to fight and it will be my night.”

There are far easier ways for a fighter such as the 27-year-old Zorrilla—who is co-promoted by Promociones Miguel Cotto and Golden Boy Promotions—to climb the ranks.

Cano has long ago earned a reputation as a spoiler, a lesson learned the hard way by Madiyev himself and more notably in his stunning first-round stoppage of Jorge Linares. Their January 2019 clash in New York City saw Cano drop Linares three times before the bout was stopped at just 2:48 of the first round. A subsequent second-round knockout of Roberto Ortiz ended his 2019 campaign, as he enters this fight on the heels of a three-fight win streak.

It marks the second consecutive leap in competition for Zorrilla, who only expects things to get tougher from here on out.

“We know he is the more experienced fighter,” notes Zorrilla, who fights outside of Puerto Rico for the first time since a March 2019 knockout win over 130-pound titlist Gamaliel Diaz. “It’s good for my development. I can only get better by facing more experienced opposition.

“To be the best, you have to beat the best. Beating better opposition will only make me better.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox