Alex Saucedo stops Lenny Zappavigna in a Bloody Battle in Oklahoma City
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: June 30, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA – When WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford left the 140-pound division for greener pastures at welterweight many thought the division would be left in shambles. At the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Alex “El Cholo” Saucedo (28-0, 18 KOs) made sure that the 140-pound division was left in good hands. Saucedo faced off against Australia’s Lenny Zappavigna (37-4, 27 KOs) in one of the best fights of 2018.
In today’s boxing landscape there is a negative stigma surrounding the many world titles in the sport. For those that step inside the ring and put their lives on the line, the titles still matter. The winner of Saucedo-Zappavigna would be next in line to face newly crowned WBO 140-pound champion, Maurice Hooker (24-0-3, 16 KOs). Hooker won his title on June 9 by traveling to the United Kingdom and winning an upset decision over Terry Flanagan.
The first round was a relatively even round with both men having their moments. Saucedo was able to establish his jab while Zappavigna kept applying pressure while throwing right hands of his own. The third round saw Saucedo land a right hand during an exchange that sent the Australian on the seat of his pants. Zappavigna got up before the count of ten on unsteady legs and made it out of the round. In the fourth round, the bout went from good to great when Zappavigna unleashed an onslaught on Saucedo with combinations to the head and body. Both men now had cuts, which boded well for Saucedo as Zappavigna just last year got surgery to remove scar tissue around his eyes. The Oklahoma native’s head trainer Abel Sanchez instructed Saucedo in the corner to utilize his jab more in between rounds.
The rest of the fight was controlled by Sauced and his jab. The jab allowed Sauced to control the distance and pace in which the battle was contested. Zappavigna never took a step back and by the seventh round was taking an unbelievable amount of punishment. The Australian needed to be saved from himself. With his right eye cut and his left eye closed, Zappavigna’s corner put a halt to the bout in the seventh round. The fight was stopped at the 2:31 mark of the seventh round. Saucedo landed 254 out of 542 total punches at a 47 percent connect rate with 166 out 333 power punches at a 50 percent connect rate.
The victory puts Saucedo in line to face Hooker for the WBO 140-pound title next. Clearly, Saucedo is a draw in his hometown of Oklahoma City and is a welcomed addition to a division that was left wide open. For Zappavigna, this could be the end of his career with his cuts consistently causing him issues.
Former two-division world champion and current ESPN boxing commentator Timothy Bradley compared Saucedo to Mexican legend and Hall-of-Famer Erik Morales before the bout with Zappavigna. At 24 years of age, Saucedo is not close to Morales’ accomplishments; however, he shows the same warrior spirit and will to win that the great Mexican displayed in all his fights.
For those who did not know Saucedo before his fight with Zappavigna, it was a welcome introduction to what could be a future television star and world champion.
(Featured Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)