William Zepeda drops Jaime Arboleda three times, stops him in two rounds
No one knows how William Zepeda might fare against the likes of Gervonta Davis, Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko, all of whom are gifted, accomplished 135-pounders.
One thing seems certain, though: Zepeda is going to make any opponent earn anything they get.
The punching machine from Mexico demonstrated that again against Jaime Arboleda on Saturday at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, putting his opponent down three times with body shots and stopping him the second round.
WHAT A FIGHT AND ROUND.@williamzepeda2 with 3 knockdowns in one round. #ZepedaArboleda | LIVE now on @DAZNBOXING pic.twitter.com/3rTmj5BfsG
— Golden Boy (@GoldenBoyBoxing) April 30, 2023
And Arboleda was no pushover. The Panamanian is a former 130-pound title contender with ability and respectable punching power. Still, he was overwhelmed.
“We noticed after the first round that my opponent was lowering his hands,” said Zepeda, referring to the tactic of protecting the stomach. “Throwing to the body was affecting him. That’s why we were able to jump on that.”
Zepeda (28-0, 24 KOs) is coming off a break-through victory over Joseph Diaz Jr. in which he set the 135-pound record for punches thrown, an astounding 1,536, according to CompuBox.
The native of Mexico City needed only 119 to get the job done Saturday on the outskirts of Dallas.
He pressured Arboleda (19-3, 14 KOs) from the outset, which is typical for the volume puncher, but the beginning of the end came midway through the second round. That’s when a wincing Arboleda dropped to one knee after taking a vicious left to the body from his southpaw opponent.
The Panamanian was able to get up and continue fighting but, obviously still in pain, he quickly took a knee again when he was caught by another body shot.
Again Arboleda got to his feet and tried to fight through the agony but the last body blow he took sent him face first to the canvas, where he writhed in pain and failed to beat the count.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:16 of Round 2.
Thus, Zepeda further enhanced his credentials as a legitimate contender in the top-heavy lightweight division.
It’s not clear when he might get a shot at one of his better-known rivals, however. Haney defends his undisputed championship against Lomachenko on May 20. Meanwhile, Davis and Stevenson are coming off recent knockout victories and just beginning to plot their immediate futures.
Zepeda was asked who he’d like to fight. He responded in Spanish before saying in English at the end, “I’m ready.”
“It’s a loaded division,” he said through a translator. “We know that we want to fight for a title. It doesn’t matter who it is.”
Zepeda’s trainer, Jay Najar, feels the same way.
“That’s why we joined boxing, to fight,” he said. “If not, we would’ve joined hockey or ballet. … We’re ready to fight. We’re willing to fight anybody.”
We’ll see if the top dogs are willing to fight him.