Mercito Gesta Spending Pandemic Feeding Front Line Workers
By: Sean Crose
“It’s a little bit different,” lightweight Mercito Gesta says over the phone, “but I try to make the most out of it.” Like most everyone, Gesta is trying his best to survive the COVID-19 era with his physical and emotional well being in tact. Being a professional athlete, the California based fighter is trying hard to stay ring ready. “If I do my workout, I just do it in a parking lot,” he says. “We do a video call training…it works out. You can do a lot of stuff.”
One of the things Gesta has been doing lately isn’t ring related. For Gesta, his wife, and those close to him have been donating food to workers on the front lines of the pandemic. “I think it’s the best thing I can do,” Gesta says of the charitable endeavor he’s taking part in. “I’m just hoping for us doing this, it will encourage other people to do the same thing” According to Gesta, the food can go to “anyone whose a first responder.” And, as anyone who knows a first responder or other front line worker can attest, these have been particularly challenging – as well as quite risky – times for those in their professions.
Boxing, which is paradoxically the humblest and flashiest of sports, has a long history of charitable giving. Muhammad Ali was known for investing in all kinds of causes – including one impromptu act of heroism where he literally talked a man down from killing himself. Floyd Mayweather has given lots to charity. Manny Pacquiao is said to give untold sums to the needy. Even those figures who haven’t earned celebrity status in the fight game are known to do their part.
Popular former boxer turned championship level trainer John Scully, for instance, gives enormous amounts of time, effort and money to aid former boxers in need. In a very real sense, then, Gesta is taking part in a long standing boxing tradition.
Not that what he does is easy. It certainly isn’t as easy as sitting around his home all day surfing the internet in between training sessions (“I should always be ready,” he says, for the inevitable return to the ring). Still, Gesta feels he and those with him are doing their part to help those who have truly stepped up during a dire time. “I feel they’re fighters, too,” he says of the people he’s serving. He’s right, of course. He’s also worthy of credit in his own right, as are those who take part in this effort with him. Boxing can tell a lot of unsettling stories. The promising stories deserve notice of their own.
Golden Boy on ESPN Results: Robles and Gesta Win
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.
Golden Boy on ESPN Preview: Mercito Gesta vs. Robert Manzanarez
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar de La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will be featuring what looks like a dynamite Main Event between Filipino southpaw Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, 31-2-2 (17), out of San Diego, CA, and southpaw Robert “Tito” Manzanarez, 36-1 (29), out of Phoenix, AZ, for the vacant WBO NABO Lightweight title Thursday night on ESPN2 at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA.
Photo Credit: Mercito Gesta Twitter Account
Gesta is coming off his second attempt at a world title fight in January while Manzanarez is riding a fifteen bout winning streak after suffering his only loss back in 2012.
The co-feature will have a pair of L.A., CA, featherweights battling for the vacant NABF title. Mexican Edgar Valerio, 13-0 (8), will be taking on Manny “Chato” Robles, Jr., 15-0 (7), over 10 rounds. It will be the first 10 rounder for Robles.
There will be three other bouts on the card featuring Super Lightweight Luis Feliciano, 6-0 (3), out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, taking on Danny Montoya, 11-6 (8), out of Reynosa, MEX, over 8 rounds. Montoya returning to the ring after a year absence.
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.
Lightweight Daniel Perales, 10-12-1 (5), out of Monterrey, MEX, takes on Ricardo Alan Fernandez, 3-8-4 (0), of Chihuahua, MEX, over 6 rounds. Both are on losing streaks and need a win.
Mercito Gesta: “It’s Just About Focus”
By: Sean Crose
“I actually started when I was fifteen,” says noted lightweight Mercito Gesta. “I went straight to pro.” That’s right, Gesta, a top contender, has been a consummate pro since the beginning. A native of San Diego, by way of the Philippines, Gesta certainly exudes professionalism while being interviewed. Polite and easy to speak with, the 31-2-2 fighter, who will be facing the formidable 36-1 Robert Manzanarez on June 14th in Vegas, is approaching his next bout with a kind of seriousness years in the business can develop. “Right now,” he says, “it’s just about focus.” He may have lost to the terrific Jorge Linares his last time out in January, but Gesta is far from feeling finished. The fighter simply believes he needs to “take it one fight at a time.”
Photo Credit: Mercito Gesta Twitter Account
“It feels really good,” Gesta says, “I’ve been training with Roach.” Roach, of course, is the famed Freddie Roach, trainer of another Filipino fighter, the iconic Manny Pacquiao. Gesta, however, has his own heights to attain. He may have lost his chance of winning the WBA world lightweight title against Linares, but Gesta is far from done hunting belts. “Yes,” he says, when I ask him if he’s still on a title quest. “Of course…I’m still here.” Still, Gesta doesn’t mind if “it takes a couple of more fights” for him to get a another crack at a championship.
Right now, Gesta’s attention is zeroed in on Manzanarez. “I can’t just overlook my next opponent,” he says. “I train very hard…every opponent’s different.” Manzanarez looks to be no exception. “I’ve been fighting taller fighters,” says Gesta. Manzanarez may be the same height as Gesta, but according to BoxRec, the man has a nearly 80% KO ratio. What’s more, the Phoenix native has stopped five of his last six opponents within the distance.
Should Gesta win and win impressively, the future may indeed look bright. Being part of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy stable might certainly prove helpful,as well. Gesta claims that membership in De La Hoya’s team “feels great,” and makes it clear De La Hoya himself carries respect. “He was once a fighter,” says Gesta. Such things matter when one is trying to reach the top of the rugged fight game. So does a company that has the pull to help one to the summit. “They are very accommodating,” Gesta says of the promotional outfit that represents him.
The main aim is to reward their faith in him.
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Matthysse vs. Kiram, Linares vs. Gesta
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO’s Boxing After Dark kicks off the 2018 year for HBO with two world title fights on their network.
Lucas Matthysse will be facing off against Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBA “Regular” Welterweight title and Jorge Linares will face Mercito Gesta for Linares WBA Lightweight Title.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
This card will take place live at the Forum in Inglewood, California. The following is a preview of both world title bouts.
Jorge Linares (43-3) vs. Mercito Gesta (31-1-2); WBA Lightweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be between the very talented Jorge Linares and Mercito Gesta.
Linares hit a rough patch in his career in late 2011/early 2012 when he suffered back to back TKO defeats, but has one every fight since then and will be making his sixth defense of his WBA Lightweight Title.
Linares, at thirty two years old, is two years older than Gesta. He will also have a one inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Linares lives in Tokyo and had a successful amateur background in Venezuela before turning pro. Gesta was born in the Philippines and currently lives in San Diego. He does not have the national amateur accolades of Linares.
Linares has also been slightly more active than Gesta. Gesta fought twice in 2017 and did not fight in 2016. Linares fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016.
Linares’ biggest question mark is his chin. He has three losses by knockout and they were to Juan Carlos Salgado, Antonion DeMarco, and Sergio Thompson. He usually starts his fights off strong but fades towards the end.
He has defeated the likes of Luke Campbell, Rocky Juarez, Anthony Crolla, Ivan Cano, Kevin Mitchell, and Nihito Arakawa.
Gesta does not have the professional resume of Linares. His lone loss was the Miguel Vazquez in his only title shot. He has defeated the likes of Gilberto Gonzalez, Miguel Mendoza, and Ty Barnett.
Linares has good power in his hands and has stopped twenty seven of his opponents. Gesta only have seventeen stoppage victories to his credit.
If Gesta was known for his power he would be a live dog in this fight. However, Gesta is not known for his power and was defeated quite easily when he last faced an opponent on the level of Jorge Linares.
This will be the first fight for Linares on HBO in a long time, and it’s a fight that tailor made for him to look sensational in.
Lucas Matthysse (38-4) vs. Tew Kiram (38-0); WBA “Regular” Welterweight Title
The main event of the evening is between Lucas Matthysse and the relatively unknown Tew Kiram.
Matthysse is from Argentina and is in the middle of a fourteen year career. Kiram is twenty five years old and ten years younger than Matthysse. Kiram turned professional at the age of fifteen.
Matthysse had a successful amateur career and is a former Argentine National Champion and competed in several notable international tournaments. Kiram turned pro before most Americans can drive a car, but has never tasted defeat.
Matthysse has incredible power in his hands and has stopped thirty five of his opponents and has only been stopped once. Kiram has twenty eight stoppage victories and won four of his past five fights by KO or TKO.
Matthysse has not been very active and only fought once in 2017 and zero times in 2016. Kiram fought twice in 2017 and four times in 2016. However, every single fight of Kiram has taken place in Thailand.
Matthysse has defeated the likes of Emmanuel Taylor, Ruslan Provodnikov, Roberto Ortiz, John Molina Jr., Lamont Peterson, Mike Dallas Jr., Ajose Olusegun, and Humberto Soto. His losses were to Zab Judah, Devon Alexander, Danny Garcia, and Viktor Postol.
Kiram has no notable victories on his resume.
It’s hard to pick against Matthysse in this fight when so little is known about Kiram. Matthysse’s inactivity is of concern, but he’s facing an opponent who has never faced someone on his level.
Thai boxers can be surprising and are known for having incredible hearts. Kiram will need to display incredible heart and surprising talent to pull of the monumental upset.
Orozco, Gesta Emerge Victorious on ESPN
Orozco, Gesta Emerge Victorious on ESPN
By: Sean Crose
Mercino Gesta, the 29-1-2 lightweight started off the night at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas on Saturday against the 27-3 Gilberto Gonzalez in a ten round lightweight affair. The bout, which opened the televised version of Golden Boy Promotions’ ESPN 2 (and ESPN 3, and ESPN Desportes) card, got off to a fast start, with Gesta banging away at his foe. It was obvious the man was looking to make quick work of his opponent. Gesta banged away again through the second, but late in the round, got caught by Gonzalez. Still, it was clear Gesta remained in control of the bout.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
He wasn’t in control about halfway through the third, however, as Gonzalez put him on the mat. Still, Gesta was able to get to his feet and once again dominate. Gonzalez was a livewire, true, but Gesta was giving the more disciplined performance. As the bout worked it’s way into its second half, Gesta continued to hit and move effectively, but Gonzalez was able to connect on occasion. If the man had been able to cut off the ring proficiently, Gesta might have found himself in trouble.
It was a hard, interesting bout. Gonzalez was a grinding fighter. One who just kept coming forward despite the fact that he was outclassed in the skill department. More than a few talented fighters have fallen at the gloves of the Gonzalez’ of the world, so this particular bout remained intriguing. Still, Gesta was simply throwing the better shots as the eighth round came to a close. He was able to dominated the ninth, as well. And even though Gonzalez gave it his all in the 10th, Gesta was able to earn himself a unanimous decision win.
It was time for the main event, where the WBCs #1 superlightweight contender, the 25-0Antonio Orozco faced the undefeated, 16-0-1KeAndre Gibson. The first round featured both fighters exchanging blows. Notable, however, was the fact that Orozco worked the body well. The second round was a close affair, but again, Orozco’s body work was worth noting. By the end of the round, the man was banging away at Gibson against the ropes.
Orozco started making good work of his man in the third. Gibson was game and had a quality skill set, but Orozco never let him get into his comfort zone early and made the fight a grinding affair. One couldn’t help but wonder how effective Gibson may have been had he employed his jab with regularity. One wouldn’t have to wonder long, however, as Gibson was dropped in the fourth. The man didn’t answer the ref after rising, so the fight was stopped.
A good night of boxing.