Jose Zepeda showed he was the boss on Saturday night as Harry Styles shook the Hulu Center with part one of his “Harryween” experience.
The building physically rocked as Styles played to a capacity crowd his mass of hits, including “Watermelon Sugar” next door at MSG.
But after a scuffle at Friday’s weigh-in and choice words at Thursday’s press conference, “Chon” Zepeda did not waste time getting to work.
Zepeda iced Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas at 1:45 of the opening round at Madison Square Garden, stunning the Bronx product in front of the home crowd.
In the process, he retained his WBC Silver 140-pound belt and kept himself in the world title picture.
Early in the round, the southpaw Zepeda (35-2, 27 KOs) countered Vargas (19-2, 9 KOs) with a left hand that plastered him to the canvas face first.
Vargas rose gingerly, but blood was in the water. Zepeda unloaded on Vargas, who took a host of unanswered punches against the ropes and crumpled to the canvas.
Referee David Fields waved off the one-sided traffic, and Zepeda had the grudge match victory.
WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 31, 2021
“I was ready. I was 100 percent ready, and I told him there were levels to this in the press conference. He was the one who wanted to fight me.
“I just accepted the fight, and it showed today that boxing is not a game in there. There are levels to this,” Zepeda said.
“I told him, and he probably knew I hit hard. I don’t think he recovered after that shot.”
Vargas said, “He caught me with a good left hand, and I tried to recover, but I think I got up too fast. That’s what happened. Overall, I’m OK. I’m good. I’m healthy. We’re not stopping from here. It’s on to the next.
“I learned from my disqualification loss, and now I learned from my second loss.”
Zepeda is now unbeaten in six fights since his controversial decision loss to Jose Ramirez.
Josh Taylor now rules the 140-pounders as the undisputed champion, but Zepeda once again etched his name among the division’s top contenders.
“I’m 32 years old, and I’m in my prime,” Zepeda said. “I want the WBC world title and all the belts, to be honest.
“I’m ready for it. I showed today I’m ready for the WBC world title.”