Boxing returns tonight in the Grand Ballroom tonight, also known as the Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to kick off the fifth week of Top Rank’s summer series. Jose Zepeda will take on Kendo Castaneda in a super lightweight bout. The six-fight card will broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN featuring super featherweights Andy Vences vs. Luis Alberto Lopez in the co-feature.
Zepeda (32-2, 25KOs) is facing late replacement Castaneda (17-1, 8KOs) in a 10 round super lightweight bout. Originally, Zepeda and former IBF world champion Ivan Baranchyk were scheduled to fight, however, Baranchyk pulled out a week ago with an injury. Castaneda stepped in on short notice to take advantage of the opportunity and live TV national showcase.
Both of Zepeda’s losses can be a bit misleading. Each of them were in world title fights. His first loss was to former world champion Terry Flannigan in 2015 when Zepeda dislocated his shoulder in the second round and couldn’t continue, suffering a technical knockout loss. His second loss was in 2019 by a close majority decision to Jose Ramirez, in which Zepeda was very competitive against Ramirez, who is arguably the best 140 pound fighter in the world. In 2019, Zepeda had a comeback unanimous decision win over former two-division world champion Jose Pedraza.
According to theboxing oddsat BetOnline, Zepeda, the former world title challenger is a -365 favorite to defeat the +295 underdog Castaneda. I feel this line is too low for Zepeda. I feel he should easily be a -1000 favorite in this particular fight, but the oddsmakers are providing value for sports bettors that feel the same way that I do.
Castaneda’s record looks good on paper, however, it has come against subpar opposition compared to the level of Zepeda, who he’ll be facing tonight. Castaneda is coming off his first career loss in February against Yomar Alamo. A comeback fight against Zepeda on short notice is a big step up for Castaneda who is looking to erase his previous loss and insert himself in the division as legitimate prospect. Zepeda is looking to establish himself once again as a world title challenger and I don’t feel Castaneda will stop him from accomplishing this. Zepeda’s southpaw stance, experience and pressure are going to be the difference as he outclasses Castaneda in winning via a ten round decision or late rounds stoppage.