Jay “Panda” Najar, the coach of lightweight William Zepeda, knows his fighter is nearing a world title shot, but believes Zepeda’s motivations to face Giovanni Cabrera are rooted in becoming a Mexican legend as much as a titleholder.

The fight with the two world title hopefuls will take place on July 6 at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, in a bout promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and broadcast on DAZN.

Zepeda (30-0, 26 KOs) enters the fight on a three-fight knockout streak, having stopped Maxi Hughes in March. The 27-year-old Mexican is facing an avoided and awkward fighter in Cabrera (22-1, 7 KOs) with hopes of earning a chance against major champions such as WBA titleholder Gervonta Davis, WBC titlist Shakur Stevenson, WBO boss Denys Berinchyk, and IBF king Vasiliy Lomachenko. Cabrera, 29, lost a close split decision to Isaac Cruz last July but has otherwise remained undefeated.

When asked by press conference host Beto Duran why Zepeda would take the risk of fighting Cabrera, Najar responded: “William wants to be a legend. He wants to be the Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, he wants to be the Salvador Sanchez, and in order to do that, you need to fight these types of fighters.

“It is difficult to prepare for a style like Giovanni’s. People who know boxing know it is a difficult style. We have never fought anyone like Giovanni, but he has never fought someone like William Zepeda.”

Najar also spoke with admiration for Cabrera’s coach, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, but acknowledged the difficulties that come with the fight. He noted that neither boxer will be able to perfectly simulate their opposition before the bout and emphasized that Cabrera thrives in the underdog role.

“We are going against one of the best trainers in the world, which makes my job harder but makes me do it better,” Najar said. “You can have Elvis Rodriguez [who trains with Freddie Roach], but you will never get a fighter that can throw over 1,500 punches per fight, and we are never going to get a fighter who can keep fighters off balance like Giovanni Cabrera.”

“[Cabrera] has already proven that every time he was picked as the B-side fighter, he has proved a lot of people wrong – young prospects, undefeated people, and to take a fighter like ‘Pitbull’ Cruz 12 rounds, we know that he is real.”

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