lightweight contender william zepeda will return against veteran mercito gesta on saturday in commerce, California.
WILLIAM ZEPEDA (28-0, 24 KOs)
VS. MERCITO GESTA (34-3-3, 17 KOS)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 16
Time: 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT (main event later in show)
Where: Commerce Casino, Commerce, California
Division: Lightweight (135 pounds)
At stake: No major titles
Odds: Zepeda 7½-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Victor Morales vs. Edwin Palomares, featherweights; Yokasta Valle vs. Maria Santizo, strawweights (for Valle’s IBF and WBO titles)
Prediction: Zepeda KO 9
Background: Zepeda is moving rapidly toward his first title shot. The skillful, volume-punching southpaw from Mexico has been untouchable against solid opposition, including a one-sided decision over former titleholder Joseph Diaz Jr. last October. He threw a lightweight-record 1,536 punches in that fight, according to CompuBox. He followed that with a second-round knockout of overmatched Jaime Arboleda on April 29. The 27-year-old is ranked by all four major sanctioning bodies, as high as No. 2 by the WBA. Gesta, a 35-year-old former title challenger, is battling to get back into contention. The Filipino southpaw is 2-0 since returning from a 2½-year layoff, defeating Joel Diaz Jr. by a unanimous decision and then getting past Joseph Diaz Jr. by a split decision on March 18. The latter fight was at 140 pounds.