Can William Zepeda beat Shakur Stevenson? Unbeaten Mexican star in hot pursuit of WBC boxing champ

The super-skilled boxer versus the relentless pressure fighter is a style confrontation that has enticed fight crowds for decades and that’s exactly what you’d have in a showdown between Shakur Stevenson and William Zepeda.

Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) is a three-weight world champion, a pound-for-pound entrant, and the reigning WBC lightweight titleholder. The Olympic silver medallist from Rio 2016 possesses fast fists, superb ring IQ and he’s one of the finest defensive fighters in the world.

WATCH: Shakur Stevenson vs. Artem Harutyunyan, exclusively on ESPN+ in the US

Zepeda (30-0, 26 KOs) is a brutal offensive force who overwhelms opponents with suffocating pressure and punching power. Another southpaw, the Mexican star is the No. 1 lightweight contender for every sanctioning organization title available, so it is not a question of if he’ll get a title shot but when.

Both Stevenson and Zepeda fight this weekend on separate shows – against Artem Harutyunyan and Giovanni Cabrera, respectively – so The Sporting News thought it an appropriate time to take a deep dive into a potential showdown between them.

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Can William Zepeda beat Shakur Stevenson?

While he’s maintained his remarkable unbeaten streak since turning professional in 2015, Zepeda has never faced an opponent with the skills of Stevenson. However, it’s fair to say that Stevenson hasn’t mixed with a fighter as strong and determined as Zepeda.

Stevenson, 27, turned professional in 2017 as a featherweight, whereas Zepeda is a career-long lightweight. While the latter is only an inch taller at 5-9 and has an inch-and-a-half reach advantage (69 ½), he’s the naturally bigger man. He’s also the puncher in this fight.

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WATCH: William Zepeda and Giovanni Cabrera, live on DAZN

Zepeda, 28, has rarely been tested although the super-tough Rene Alvarado took him the full 10 rounds in May 2022. That was a highly entertaining and competitive bout, which proved that Zepeda could absorb punishment, come through some adversity and prevail.

To simplify a potential matchup between them, it’s Stevenson by decision or Zepeda by knockout. As of this moment, I’d favor the boxer over the brawler, but with some trepidation. Stevenson is just so tough to pin down and he gets an opponent’s respect with his accuracy and by scoring punches that are felt and not seen.

The prediction right now would be Stevenson by unanimous decision.

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Will Shakur Stevenson vs. William Zepeda happen?

Stevenson is promoted by Top Rank, although the Harutyunyan fight is the last under his current contract. The marriage between fighter and promoter hasn’t always been rosy, although one would expect Bob Arum to make an earnest attempt to retain the champ’s services after Saturday.

As for Zepeda, he’s aligned with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN, but that’s not the end of the world. These two promoters have come together in the past, so getting this fight over the line is not a huge reach. There was even talk earlier this year of the fight taking place on July 6, but negotiations never got off the ground.

“Shakur, if you’re watching, let’s get it on, let’s go,” said Golden Boy boss Oscar De La Hoya after Zepeda had halted Maxi Hughes on DAZN in March.

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“Let Oscar call me and I’ll get that fight done for July,” responded Arum in an interview with Boxing Scene. “We have a date, July 6, and the Prudential Center is reserved. We certainly would consider him.”

Both men are fighting on July 6 but not against each other. Let’s hope we see this one sooner rather than later.

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