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Who wins Lopez vs Gonzalez and Zepeda vs Gesta? Predictions and preview!

We’ve got two picks for this weekend’s main events!

Who wins Luis Alberto Lopez vs Joet Gonzalez?
Who wins Luis Alberto Lopez vs Joet Gonzalez?
Mikey Williams/Top Rank

We’re back in the fight prediction game!

This week we’ve got an IBF featherweight title fight on Friday night, and then a Golden Boy lightweight main event on Saturday!

Who wins Lopez vs Gonzalez and Zepeda vs Gesta?

Luis Alberto Lopez vs Joet Gonzalez

Scott Christ (74-30)

Gonzalez has never won at this level before in repeated tries, and I’m not picking him here. But this is a fight he can win more than Shakur Stevenson or Emanuel Navarrete were, at least. The Isaac Dogboe loss was tactical mistakes, and if he makes them again, yeah, he’s cooked.

Lopez has put the pieces together. Weird fighter, weird style, weird rhythms, but good. He’s sort of perfected his own unique approach over the years and is peaking. I’m picking him to retain, but he also seems like the kinda guy whose peak run might be short. If Gonzalez can get inside and actually keep working, he’s got a real shot here — and I know he’s the taller guy, but unless he’s developed a much better jab, he really doesn’t want to stay at distance with Lopez, whose wonky lunging and power punching at odd angles can be a real problem for anyone. Lopez UD-12

Wil Esco (83-21)

Luis Alberto Lopez sports an unorthodox style that I’m not particularly in love with, but the man makes it work for him. So I’m expecting Lopez to come into this fight his usual self, applying pressure and looking to get off his numerous power shots as often as possible. As for Joet Gonzalez, he’s a fighter who has some quality but has trouble getting out of first gear in his biggest fights. Getting trounced by Shakur Stevenson is one thing, losing to Emanuel Navarrete another, but the way he dropped the close decision to Isaac Dogboe has demonstrated that he’s not quite good enough on this level. I’ll take Lopez to win a clear decision. Lopez UD-12

John Hansen (74-30)

It’s a busy gig serving double duty as Secretary-Treasurer of the Joet Gonzalez Appreciation Society and Vice-Coordinator of the recruiting committee. Many have already sworn off joining the club after seeing Shakur Stevenson box circles around him, even though that’s what Shakur Stevenson does to pretty much everyone. If you saw him against Emmanuel Navarrete, though, you know he’s tough and tenacious, throwing both hands even with trunks that look like the floor of a butcher shop and eyes that look like he found out too late that his pre-fight meal included shellfish.

Lopez is a pretty substantial favorite here, and it’s a fair line. He’s the champion, he has two notable notches on that belt, and he’s a weird, challenging fighter for any opponent. But, damnit, I WANT to believe in Joet here, and he’s hung in with better opponents before. Lopez is good, but he’s nowhere near the P4P conversation like the last two guys Gonzalez fought for a world title. I expect a high volume of punches, a few clashes of heads, and a handful of low blows. And I’ll vote my heart (something that NEVER goes poorly for me!), that the third time proves the charm for Joet Gonzalez. Apply for membership now, people. Sign-up fees and annual dues will only go up if he scores the upset. Gonzalez UD-12

Patrick Stumberg (79-25)

I see this going the same way as Gonzalez’s last three losses and for the exact same reason: he’s a pressure fighter who can’t or won’t commit to consistent pressure. He’s such a menace on the inside but he’ll stop in his tracks if you put punches in his face. Even an undersized and undergunned Isaac Dogboe kept Gonzalez passive enough to steal round after round; it’s hard to imagine Gonzalez keeping his foot on the gas against the heavier and more awkward hands of Lopez.

Gonzalez is game enough to take a few rounds and tough enough to take anything Lopez can dish out. He’s just not skilled or busy enough to take seven rounds from a more powerful slugger with 12 rounds of gas. Lopez out-slugs him to a 9-3, 8-4 sort of decision. Lopez UD-12

William Zepeda vs Mercito Gesta

Scott Christ (74-30)

Gesta has never won at this level in repeated tries. I know he just beat JoJo Diaz, and that should tell you about what I think JoJo’s current level is, or at least was on that night. That was an awful outing for Diaz.

Zepeda looks like the real deal to me. I don’t think he’s a real threat to beat guys like Tank Davis or Lomachenko or Shakur Stevenson, but of those still at lightweight (so not Haney) those are the only three guys I’d definitely pick against him, too. But Gesta might make him work, sort of the way Rene Alvarado did. Zepeda UD-12

Wil Esco (83-21)

If you ask me, Mercito Gesta’s best days are behind him, even despite his latest win over JoJo Diaz. Gesta is pretty strong and sturdy, but he doesn’t quite have the dimensions to his game to topple William Zepeda as far as I can tell. Gesta will work his jab, but often doesn’t throw it with much authority, and I think Zepeda will use those opportunities to counter. And while Zepeda isn’t the most dynamic fighter either, I think the youthful exuberance carries the day for him in this fight. I don’t see either fighter really putting a hurting on the other, so I’m going to take Zepeda to win a points decision on the cards. Zepeda UD-12

John Hansen (74-30)

Gesta’s return from inactivity and mid-30s career renaissance has been fun to watch. But, eventually one’s supply of Diazes runs out, and you’re stuck taking power punches from a knockout specialist and top five lightweight.

Yeah, I said it. Top five lightweight. Bold statements like that, without the actual in-ring evidence to support them yet, are why I’m in a dogfight for 3rd place in this contest. A mealy-mouthed coward wouldn’t be so well off.

Anyway, Zepeda is well and fully past the gate Gesta seems destined to keep for the rest of his revitalized career. It won’t be Arboleda quick, but this won’t last the full distance. Zepeda KO-7

Patrick Stumberg (79-25)

As much fun as Gesta’s renaissance has been, it ends here. He’s not going to out-hustle a younger, bigger volume puncher who can match or exceed Gesta’s output while putting quite a bit more zip on each shot. It’s as toxic a style matchup as you can imagine for “No Mercy;” all the veteran guile in the world can’t make up for the physical and technical advantages in “Camaron’s” corner.

Zepeda unquestionably still has some lingering issues, namely a tendency to keep his head and feet in place as he unloads those lengthy combos he’s so fond of. Heavy hitters are going to be a problem for him, especially ones with the timing to catch and pitch. Unfortunately for Gesta, he doesn’t fit the bill. Zepeda overpowers him in a high-volume firefight en route to a mercy stoppage around the midpoint. Zepeda TKO-6

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