Maxi Hughes (26-7-2, 5 KOs) wasn’t making excuses after his disappointing fourth round TKO loss to William Zepeda (30-0, 26 KO) in their IBF/WBA lightweight title eliminator on Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Hughes, 34, says his loss came down to him getting hit with a hard body shot in the fourth and not being able to keep up with the 27-year-old Zepeda’s high work rate. Zepeda was like a punching machine tonight, averaging over 100 punches thrown per round in the short bout.

Maxi feels he could have won the fight if he’d landed his best shot, but he didn’t get to Zepeda before he landed his big punches. It came down to that. Hughes says it wasn’t Zepeda’s power because he’s been in with more powerful fighters before.

Zepeda’s Edge: Work Rate

“What impressed me was his work rate. I’ve faced a lot of styles and a lot of similar people. What it comes down to is boxing,” said Maxi Hughes to the media, reflecting on his fourth-round TKO loss to William Zepeda on Saturday night.

Initially, Hughes came close to matching the work rate of Zepeda in round one, but the Mexican warrior pulled away beginning in the second round when he focused on throwing nonstop shots.

If Hughes had attempted to match Zepeda punch for punch, it would have been interesting to see what kind of damage he would have inflicted. Zepeda’s face was pretty well marked up after the fight, showing that Hughes’ had gotten his pound of flesh during the short fight. He just wasn’t able to keep up.

“I could have caught him with one, but he caught me with one of those shots before I had the chance to do it to him,” said Hughes. “Hit him before he hit me,” said Hughes on what he could have done to increase his chances of beating Zepeda.

Respect for Zepeda, Respect for the Division

“I was trying to create space. I did my best, and I came up short. The division is filled with stacked opponents. He’s one tonight, so he gets a chance to fight for a title. But they’re all tough fights. They’re All 50-50 fights. He’s got as good a chance as any,” said Hughes about Zepeda.

“We’ll see who he gets matched against next, but he’s a good fighter, I respect him and I take my hat off to him,” said Hughes about Zepeda.

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