Oscar De La Hoya has been looking for a breakthrough star in the lightweight division. One that won’t only put butts in seats, but someone capable of winning a world title.
Ryan Garcia was only able to take care of the former. The wildly popular 25-year-old had fans dying to see him fight but he was never able to officially win a title during his time at 135 pounds. In William Zepeda, however, De La Hoya believes he has something special.
Over his last few fights, De La Hoya wanted to know if his highly-ranked lightweight contender was good enough to go to the next level. Wins against Joseph Diaz and Jaime Arboleda made De La Hoya smile, but the one-sided beating he gave Mercito Gesta left the Hall of Fame former champion with no doubt.
Gesta never stood a chance. With each passing minute, his face grew more and more disfigured. Six and a half rounds were all Zepeda needed to take home the win and seal what De La Hoya would consider his championship fate.
The longtime promoter now has work to do. He’ll have to fork over a bit more cash to Zepeda’s opponents in the immediate future but he isn’t complaining. He’s jumping on the phone with everyone imaginable in the hopes of landing his fighter a big-time opportunity. In a perfect world, De La Hoya wouldn’t be wasting his time with the minutiae of what takes place in contract negotiations with lesser fighters. There’s only one person that he wants to match Zepeda up with.
“The one fight I would love right now is Haney,” De La Hoya told Fight Hub TV. “I would love to match him up with Haney.”
There’s one problem with De La Hoya’s wishes, Haney is no longer competing in the lightweight division.
Grabbing every world title at 135 pounds and making a handful of defenses was an awesome accomplishment but at this point, he’s just about done with it.
On December 9th, Haney will move up to the super lightweight division to take on Regis Prograis for his WBC title.
Let’s live in a conjectural world for a second. It’s currently December 10th, and Haney has successfully beaten Prograis. But, somehow, he’s figured out a way to cut weight and has decided to return to the lightweight division. De La Hoya quickly picks up his phone and gives Haney a call to offer him a showdown against Zepeda. Although Haney has always appeared confident and willing to face every and anyone, De La Hoya figures that Haney will do whatever it takes to avoid his young star.
“They would never take it, trust me. They would never take it.”