By: Ken Hissner
Oscar de La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions featured a Main Event between Filipino Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta and Mexican Robert “Tito” Manzanarez for the vacant WBO NABO Lightweight title at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA, Thursday over ESPN2.
Filipino southpaw Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, 32-2-2 (17), out of Cebu, PH, won a majority decision over Robert “Tito” Manzanarez, 36-2 (29), out of Phoenix, AZ, for the vacant WBO NABO Lightweight title over 10 rounds.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
In the first two rounds the much shorter Gesta was the much busier of the two getting inside of the taller Manzanarez. In the third round Manzanarez was guilty of too much holding when Gesta got inside. In the fourth round Manzanarez landed several lead rights to the chin of Gesta and then Manzanarez grabbed Gesta forcing a clinch.
In the fifth round Gesta landed a left to the head of Manzanarez who leaned down and grabbed the leg of Gesta causing the referee to intervene. Gesta continued to land more than Manzanarea who couldn’t keep the shorter Gesta at a distance. Manzanarez was cut on the right eye brow at the finish of the round. In the sixth round Gesta gets inside of a good jab by Manzanarez but continues to hold too much with little warning from the referee.
In the seventh and eight rounds Manzanarez is countering well as Gesta comes in for the first minute. Then Manzanarez goes back to clinching whenever Gesta gets inside. Gesta gets in with the right hook and follows with the left before Manzanarez forces him into a clinch.
In the ninth round Gesta continues to chase Manzanarez landing an overhand left to the head of Manzanarez. In the corner of Gesta is trainer Freddy Roach. In the tenth and final round right away Manzanarez is holding. Referee Jerry Cantu has done little if anything about the continuous holding by Manzanarez. Though many of the rounds were close it seemed Gesta won the majority of them.
Gesta was coming off his second attempt at a world title fight in January while Manzanarez was riding a fifteen bout winning streak after suffering his only loss back in 2012.
Judges DeLuca and Russell scored it 96-94 and Young 95-95. This writer had it 97-93.
In the co-feature a pair of L.A., CA, unbeaten featherweights battled for the vacant NABF title. Mexican Edgar Valerio, 13-1 (8), was halted by Manny “Chato” Robles, III, 16-0 (8), at 2:31 of the 9th round of a scheduled 10 rounds to win the NABF title. Valerio was knocked down in the 3rd and 9th rounds.
In the first round Robles used a lead right to the chin of Valerio. Valerio used his left hook to the chin when he was able to land in a close round that Robles seemed to have an edge. In the second round Valerio was able to land more punches with a stiff jab and his left hook. Robles mostly used his jab throughout the round. This was the first fight Robles father was not in his corner in his amateur and professional career.
In the third round Valerio landed a right to the chin but was countered by Robles landing a left hook to the chin and down went Valerio. He beat the count and became the aggressor seemingly more embarrassed than hurt. In the fourth round Valerio continued to force the action. He was left hook happy but it was working for him. Only when Robles stopped to counter Valerio went on the defense. Valerio missed with a left hook but his elbow landed on the face of Robles who suffered a small cut outside his right eye.
A minute into the fifth round Robles landed a solid right to the chin of Valerio. Near the end of the round they clashed heads but neither were cut. Good round for Robles. In the sixth round it was Robles landing a right and getting countered by a Valerio left hook knocking Robles back a few steps off balance. Robles came right back after Valerio and continued to follow Valerio around the ring.
In the seventh round both fighters landed rights at the same time and it was Robles that was hurt. As Valerio went after Robles he walked into a right to the chin from Robles. In the eighth round Valerio on occasions turns southpaw for a few seconds. Robles was forcing the fight landing a lead right to the chin of Valerio. It was another close round.
In the ninth round Robles dropped Valerio with a right hand with his hand keeping him from only touching the canvas with his gloves in a crouch. He took the 8 count. As Robles came in he got hit with a left hook but swarmed all over Valerio who was defenseless until referee Hernandez called a halt. Valerio’s right eye was almost closed at the end.
Super Lightweight Luis Feliciano, 7-0 (4), out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, knocked out Danny Montoya, 11-7 (8), out of Reynosa, MEX, at 0:50 of the fourth round in a scheduled 8 rounds. Welterweight Herbert Acevedo, 14-2 (6), out of Oxnard, CA, takes on David “Terminator” Thomas, 6-2-1 (2), of Orange, TX, over 6 rounds.