Top Rank promote the first of two shows this week, again inside the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas.
Topping the bill on Tuesday night is California’s Jose Zepeda (31-2, KO25), a man who has been unfortunate to say the least in two World title attempts win the past.
Jose takes part in a Super-Lightweight ten rounder in Sin City against San Antonio’s Kendo Castaneda (17-1, KO8) who is coming off a loss in his last assignment.
After compiling a 23-fight unbeaten streak since turning professional in December 2009, Zepeda travelled to Manchester in July 2015 to challenge for the vacant WBO Lightweight title against Terry Flangan.
Disaster struck for Zepeda in the second round though, as a dislocated shoulder ruled him out of the contest at the end of the session.
Things didn’t go to plan on his return either three months later. Sustaining a cut during a clash of heads against Jose Alfaro caused the fight to be stopped after just one completed round.
Seven straight wins followed as he hovered between Lightweight and Super-Lightweight, but he was knocked down against Carlos Diaz Ramirez in the fourth of their June 2018 meeting before scoring a knockout win a round later.
His good form secured a shot at the WBC ten stone belt, and he didn’t disgrace himself in a majority points loss to the excellent Jose Carlos Ramirez in February 2019.
An accidental clash of heads again scuppered his comeback fight against, recent Miguel Berchelt victim, Eleazar Valenzuela. But, his last outing saw an impressive points win against Jose Pedraza in September last year.
Zepeda’s opponent for his first appearance of 2020 should be able to take him some rounds. Kendo Castaneda is a durable type, having gone ten rounds in three of his last four fights.
The 26-year-old has gradually stepped up in rounds in the last couple of years, and suffered a first professional setback in February this year, losing a majority decision in a challenge for the WBO NABO Super-Lightweight title to Puerto Rico’s Yomar Alamo.
Prediction: Zepeda will be keen to keep busy and build on a decent showing against Ramirez, and a win against Jose Pedraza, and he will be looking to force a way back into the ten stone world title picture with a good showing here.
Castaneda has proved he can go rounds, and may be tough to shift. My pick is for Zepeda to come through clearly on the scorecards.
One thing the Top Rank cards are producing is plenty of competitive fights, and the Super-Featherweight ten-rounder between California’s Andy Vences (23-1-1, KO12) and Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez Vargas (20-2, KO11) is no exception.
Vences was last seen in October last year, defeating Mark Bernaldez over eight rounds, in a comeback fight after a maiden career loss on the cards at the hands of Albert Bell four months prior.
Vargas ventures outside of Mexico for the third time in his career, and he is unbeaten in three fights, with all coming by stoppage since a points loss to Ruben Villa in May last year.
23-year-old Las Vegas native Andres Cortes (12-0, KO7) continues his fledgling career in an eight round Lightweight contest against Ohio’s Alejandro Salinas (10-3, KO9) a man who has never previously been stopped.
The second eight-rounder on the bill sees Genaro Games (9-1, KO6) who is coming off an August 2018 loss to Luis Feliciano, take on Filipino Raymond Yanong (11-5-1, KO9) at Super-Lightweight.
The remainder of the bill will be completed by two four round contests, as at Lightweight, Eric Puente (2-0, KO0) meets Diego Elizondo (2-1-2, KO0) and Gabriel Muratalla (3-0, KO3) and Sergio Lopez (4-5-3, KO0) clash at Bantamweight.