Junior welterweight title contender Jose Zepeda easily outpointed Kendo Castaneda over 10 rounds in a clinical performance, earning a unanimous decision victory Tuesday night inside "The Bubble" at the MGM Grand Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Zepeda (32-2, 25 KOs) was able to keep his focus and win by scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 98-92. He was sharp in the early going, boxing out of his southpaw stance as he established his right jab and then alternated planting straight lefts to the body and head of Castaneda (17-2, 8 KOs) -- boxing freely at his own pace.
Castaneda was a step behind Zepeda from the start, and he failed to find a consistent answer for Zepeda's variety of punches with great speed and precision. Castaneda eventually had some moments in the sixth and seventh rounds, but Zepeda quickly reasserted control in the eighth and cruised to victory through the last few rounds.
"I think it was good," Zepeda said of his performance. "Since he hasn't been on the big stages, nobody knows anything about him. But today I noticed that he can get hit. He can [take] some punches. It was a good performance, [but] I can do better. Every time the level goes up, I go up, too."
Zepeda was originally slated to face fellow junior welterweight contender Ivan Baranchyk, who pulled out of the fight due to an injury suffered in training. Zepeda has been angling for a world title fight against one of two fighters who each hold two belts -- Jose Ramirez, to whom Zepeda dropped a close split decision loss, or Josh Taylor.
"Like I said before, I have four names in mind -- WBC, WBO, IBF and WBA," Zepeda said.