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William Zepeda vs Maxi Hughes official for March 16th at The Cosmopolitan

The fight will serve as a “double eliminator” for the IBF and WBA lightweight titles

Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

As revealed earlier this month, lightweight contenders William Zepeda and Maxi Hughes will square off atop a March 16th DAZN show at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

This will, as the press release points out, serve as a “double eliminator” for both the IBF and WBA titles. Zepeda (29-0, 25 KO) sits at no. 6 and no. 2 in their respective rankings, Hughes (26-6-2, 5 KO) at no. 5 and “unranked.” I’m not going to ask why the WBA thinks Gary Cully and Fradimil Macayo deserve numbers beside their names and Hughes doesn’t.

In any case, it’s as good as fight as it was the first time we heard about it. Zepeda has clearly stepped his game up since an unexpectedly tough 2022 out against Rene Alvarado and Hughes, despite getting shafted by the judges against George Kambosos Jr, remains among the division’s most consistent script-flippers. Whether Hughes can handle Zepeda’s avalanche of offense is one question, but it’s clear that he’s going to test “El Camaron” like nobody before.

“I am excited for this big challenge ahead of me, and being one step closer to accomplishing my dream of becoming a world champion,” said Zepeda. “Maxi Hughes is a grand fighter, and I can’t wait to face him in the ring on March 16 and represent my humble hometown of San Mateo Atenco on the world’s stage. I know Golden Boy wants to bring big fights back to Las Vegas, the capital of boxing, and I want to be part of that - I want to be crowned a World Champion in Vegas.”

“My last fight in the U.S., the judges broke my heart. I won’t let them derail my career. I’m coming back stateside with the bit between my teeth. Zepeda hasn’t fought anyone like me before,” said Maxi Hughes.

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