By Charles Brun: WBC Silver light welterweight champion Richardson Hitchins will be having his coming out party this Saturday night in his first true fight against a top-tier opponent, Jose Zepeda, and it’ll be up to show the world that he’s for real or just another one of promoter Eddie Hearn’s mistake signings.
(Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom).
It certainly helps Hitchins that Zepeda is up there in age and was recently knocked out by Regis Prograis. If this were the Zepeda from 2018, Hitchins might be in a bit of trouble and perhaps be in danger of having his new promotional contract terminated.
Hearn recently signed Hitchins (16-0, 7 KOs), and he believes, just like he did with Regis Prograis, that he’s got a diamond in the rough. If Hitchins is going to be that guy, he’ll need to get past the 34-year-old Zepeda (37-3, 28 KOs) in flying colors in their headliner at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida.
The Richardson vs. Zepeda event will be shown on DAZN this Saturday, September 23rd, at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Hitchins is one of the many New Yorkers who are good at praising themselves, but we’ll eventually see if he’s got the ability to back it up. Zepeda obviously isn’t good enough to show us if Hitchins is the real thing, as he’s too old.
The way that Hitchins brags about himself is easily similar to many New Yorkers who are exposed when put in with quality opposition. Something about the state creates a lot of fighters who are good at self-promoting, but when it comes to backing up their boasting, they miserably fail. Is Hitchins another one of them?
To show that he’s not Fools Gold, Hitchins will need to beat these fighters:
Gary Antuanne Russell
Arnold Barboza Jr.
Hitchins needs to prove to himself
“I’m looking forward to it. Zepeda is a guy with experience, and he’s been in the ring with a lot of good fighters at the 140-lb division,” said Richardson Hitchins to Boxing Social.
“I just feel this is something that I got to prove to myself in this fight because I feel like the fighters he’s been in the ring with, they’re not as great a craftsman as me, and I feel like on awhile different level,” said Hitchins.
If the 25-year-old Brooklyn, New York native Hitchins fails against Zepeda on Saturday night, that going to be a signal that he’s not going to progress to the next level to fight for a world title.
Hearn would then need to decide whether to keep Hitchins on board or release the ballast to lighten the load on his Matchroom ship.
Perhaps one of the other companies, like Mayweather Promotions, would scoop Hitchins up and give him the Gervonta Davis careful match-making treatment.
“On Saturday, if I am what I say I am, I should handle Zepeda with ease,” said Hitchins. “We’ll see. Maybe Zepeda is a guy that shows something in the ring that can make me up my level, but I know after Saturday night, I’ll be more of a complete boxer, even from a mental aspect for just knowing things to do in the ring physically.”
Considering how much punishment Hitchins took in his last fight against little-known second-tier fighter John Bauza, it’s fair to say that he’s not going to “handle Zepeda with ease.”
Bauza was delivering hydrogen bombs on Hitchin’s chin the entire fight, and if that Zepeda was delivering those same shots, there would be nothing left of Richardson but ash from where he’d been standing at the moment of impact.
“On Saturday, it should definitely grow my game in the sport of boxing,” said Hitchins. “This is my first headline opportunity today that ‘I’mhereand I’m definitely a threat.’
“I think the boxing world has woken up with the last two fights that I had with Matchroom and DAZN. When people got to see me on mainstream TV, I got a lot of recognition. A lot of people opened their eyes. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing,” said Hitchins.
The element of surprise is gone for Richardson
“I think it was a little better when people didn’t know how good I was. Zepeda says he didn’t watch too much of me, but I don’t believe that because he’s already given me so much praise, saying that I’m a great fighter and have all the talent that you need in boxing,” said Hitchins.
It doesn’t matter if Zepeda knows who Hitchins is or not. If Hitchins can’t handle his power, he’s going to be a goner on Saturday night.
Zepeda punches hard regardless, and he wouldn’t be taking it easy on him if he didn’t know how he was. That guy is too much of a professional for him to overlook one of his opponents, especially one that is being given the main event treatment by Matchroom Boxing on DAZN.
“I think a part of me didn’t wish that he knew what I was bringing to the table just so I could surprise him,” said Hitchins. “I just feel like I’m meant to be a great fighter, and the world will know, and it starts with Saturday.”
It sounds like Hitchins is lacking a bit in true self-confidence because this writer smells fear coming from the Brooklyn fighter.
If he truly believed in himself, he wouldn’t be harping so much about the element of surprise not being there for him to gain a cheap advantage. The greats don’t need the element of surprise to win their fights, so it’s pathetic that Hitchins is worrying about this.
“I believe the best fighter on the card. I meant that. When I looked around, I felt that none of the guys that were sitting there was on my level,” said Hitchins. If you’re the truth, it’ll show, and I feel it’s showing slowly but surely.
“in the next year, I’ll hopefully be a guy with a championship belt looking to unify and do things like that,” said Richardson.