FIGHT WEEK

Luis alberto lopez will defend his 126-pound belt against joet gonzlaez on friday. on saturday, william zepeda will return against mercito gesta

LUIS ALBERTO LOPEZ (28-2, 16 KOs)
VS. JOET GONZALEZ (26-3, 15 KOs)

  • Date: Friday, Sept. 15
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT (main event later in show)
  • Where: American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • TV/Stream: ESPN, ESPN+
  • Division: Featherweight (126 pounds)
  • At stake: Lopez’s IBF title
  • Odds: Lopez 6-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
  • Pound-for-pound: None
  • Also on the card: Xander Zayas vs. Roberto Valenzuela Jr., junior middleweights; Jamaine Ortiz vs. Antonio Moran, lightweights
  • Prediction: Lopez UD
  • Background: Lopez made a splash by outpointing Josh Warrington to take the Englishman’s title last December in Leeds and then proved it was no fluke by stopping veteran Michael Conlan in five rounds on May 27, his fourth knockout in his last five fights. The 30-year-old Mexican last lost in 2019, when Ruben Villa defeated him by a unanimous decision. He’s 11-0 since the setback, with eight KOs. Gonzalez is a slick, tough technician who has failed in two attempts to win a 126-pound world title, losing a one-sided decisions to Shakur Stevenson in 2019 and Emanuel Navarrete in 2021. The 29-year-old from Los Angeles is 2-1 since, including a split-decision loss to Isaac Dogboe in July of last year. He bounced back to easily outpoint Enrique Vivas on April 1.

 

RAFAEL PEDROZA (15-0, 11 KOs)
VS. RAMON CARDENAS (22-1, 11 KOs)

  • Date: Friday, Sept. 15
  • Time: 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT (main event later in show)
  • Where: Boeing Center at Tech Port, San Antonio
  • TV/Stream: Showtime
  • Division: Junior featherweight (122 pounds)
  • At stake: No major titles
  • Odds: NA
  • Pound-for-pound: None
  • Also on the card: Mirco Cuello vs. Rudy Garcia, featherweights
  • Prediction: Pedroza UD
  • Background: Pedroza and Cardenas will fight in the main event on “ShoBox: The New Generation.” Pedroza, 26, is an unbeaten prospect from Panama who will be making his debut in the United States. He is skillful and has punching power, although he has failed to stop his last three opponents. He is coming off a unanimous decision over Yerny Betancourt on May 6. Pedrozo is ranked No. 5 by the WBA. Cardenas is a capable boxer out of San Antonio, meaning he’ll be fighting in front of his hometown fans. The 27-year-old last fought on May 26, when he stopped journeyman Rodrigo Guerrero in two rounds. Cardenas’ only loss came in 2017, when he lost a majority decision to journeyman Danny Flores. He has won 10 consecutive fights since, four by knockout.

 

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
  • TV/Stream: DAZN
  • Division: Lightweight (135 pounds)
  • At stake: No major titles
  • Odds: Zepeda 7½-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
  • Pound-for-pound: None
  • 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.

 

ALSO FIGHTING THIS WEEK

FRIDAY

  • Angel Fierro vs. Brayan Zamarripa, lightweights, Tijuana, Mexico (DAZN)