Next weekend, barring a draw, the welterweight division should look clearer as WBC & IBF Champion Errol Spence Jr (27-0) faces WBA champion Yordenis Ugas (27-4). This event takes place in Jerry’s World, also known as Cowboy Stadium in Dallas, TX, where a crowd of up to 50,000 could potentially be in attendance.
The main card is part of a Showtime PPV, and as a bonus treat, Showtime will be running two fights on their regular network to get fans excited and further convince those who are unsure of purchasing the PPV. Serving as the opener of a two-fight card is an interesting one between rising junior welterweight contender Brandun Lee (24-0), who is going up against Brooklyn’s Zachary Ochoa (21-2). Ochoa is the topic of discussion in this article as he looks to ruin the plans of the young Lee.
As mentioned earlier, Ochoa is from Brooklyn, NY, where he grew up as a child with three siblings and a split household. His father wasn’t around, looking back, he feels as though he got his heart & strength from his mother and his morals from his father. He has no ill feelings about it as those are things that give you “experience in life,” as he mentioned on “The Boxing Rush Hour Show.”
Growing up in Brooklyn, you don’t have to look far to get yourself into some trouble, and for Zach, growing up in that environment led him to always fighting. Putting his fists up was the end all be all when it came to expressing himself in certain situations or defending himself. Finally, at thirteen, his mother took him to the famous Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). When young Zach walked in and “smelled the funk & saw the sparring,” he immediately turned to his mother and told her, “You can leave now.”
Ochoa would move through the amateur ranks, and on September 10, 2011, he would debut as a Pro. After a few fights, he signed with Golden Boy Promotions in 2014, and things seemed like they were going in a great direction. After being with them for about three years, Ochoa and GBP parted ways, and it was back to being on his own once again. He was getting fights where he could, and an opportunity came up to fight on the undercard of an Adrian Broner card.
That fight at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut would be against Juan Jose Velasco (23-3) on February 20, 2021. That night, Ochoa felt he boxed well, and, in the clinches, it felt like he was the stronger fighter, and the body shots were hurting Velasco, according to Ochoa. It was a rough fight and one that saw Velasco headbutt Ochoa twice, with one of those opening up a nasty cut. Zach soldiered on and made it into a close fight. The judges saw the fight close (96-94, 94-96,97-93) but the widest scorecard came from Glen Feldman, who had Thurman beating Pacquiao a few years ago. After that fight, Ochoa went back to the drawing board with his coach Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, to figure out the next move.
Zach would injure himself in a car accident which sidelined him for a little bit before he got the call for a fight against Brandun Lee. With this fight being part of such a huge event, what does the twenty-nine-year-old think of fighting in Dallas? Zach told NYF, “I am very grateful to my team. I am also grateful to Al Haymon, Stephen Edwards, Brian Jaffe, my team, and everyone who has been involved for giving me this opportunity.”
Speaking of his coach Stephen Edwards, they’ve been together since 2019, and being one of the sharpest minds in the game; he sees something in Ochoa. Zach told NYF, “He’s (Stephen Edwards) changed my way of boxing ever since we started training together. I’ve learned so much from him. Even if he’s not looking, he’s listening to how you hit the bag. Lastly, he doesn’t take no shit.” While preparing for this fight, Ochoa mentions always being focused and citing that being away from the family is different but something that doesn’t affect him at all.
Training for this fight has brought a higher level of preparation for Zach. Ochoa told NYF, “With any fight, you have to take it seriously. When it comes to certain magnitudes of fights, you have to be on point and have to step up the training and work, which is what we have done.” It sounds like he is locked and loaded for next weekend’s fight.
Lastly, what should the fans expect from him on April 16? Zach said, “You can expect me to give a great fight and represent for my people from Brooklyn and everyone around the world. It’s going to be a great fight, and at the end of the day, I will be the winner.”
My Three Cents
Zachary Ochoa is coming into next weekend with a ton of confidence and the thought that a win would set him up for bigger and better things in the future. To do that, he has to beat a young, hungry contender who is on the rise. I’m glad Showtime is putting this one on their network, as it will truly be an entertaining fight. Tune into Showtime at 7 pm EST and 4 pm PST for this much anticipated junior welterweight clash.
You can follow me on Twitter @abeg718 and subscribe to “The Boxing Rush Hour Show” podcast on all streaming platforms.