On the surface, lightweight contender Mercito ‘No Mercy’ Gesta’s last performance, a 3rd round TKO over overmatched Jorge Pimentel, may have seemed like business at usual but rest assured, it signified a new start in many ways for the Mandaue City, Cebu native. Just a little over a month prior Gesta had inked a new deal with Las Vegas-based Top Rank Promotions and it was imperative that he had a strong showing against Pimentel to keep his momentum going.
Showing poise that beguiled his 23 years of age, Gesta was in rare form as he picked his Mexican foe apart with piercing combinations while keeping the fight at his own pace. The end would come in round three as Gesta landed a beautiful right uppercut late in the stanza to score his 3rd knockdown in the fight, with referee Raul Caiz Jr. waiving the contest off.
<— Slideshow: Behind the scenes at Mercito Gesta’s recent victory in Carson, California
Since that victory is has been revealed that Gesta will be returning on September 17th at the BlueWater Casino in Parker, Arizona against an opponent to-be-determined. Gesta will be co-headlining that card along with budding junior welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr., a Phoenix native, as it will give local fans an alternative to the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz pay-per-view extravaganza from the MGM Grand on the same night.
Gesta recently stopped by The Boxing Lab, BoxingScene’s official radio show, to speak on that assignment as well as his future aspirations in the sport.
“I’m just preparing for that fight,” Gesta would state. “I’m not sure of the opponent yet but I think the fight is set and ready. So I’m just staying focused on my training and next week I’m going to do the strength and conditioning and try to get back in shape again.”
It is a quick turnaround for Gesta, seeing as though the Pimentel fight was less than a month ago on July 9th, but he insists that preparing himself for the rigors of another training camp is something that comes naturally to him.
“I’m kind of used to it already but all I need to do is improve more and train harder. I’m almost getting there and the opponents are going to be tougher. All I need to do is focus on my training and try to improve. Two weeks before the fight I’m going to Oxnard; I heard there is good sparring there,” Gesta added.
Mercito was asked what it was like to be compared to his countrymen Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, both champions in their respective divisions, and Mercito showed great respect while pointing out how set he is set on blazing his own trail amongst Filipino fans and boxing supporters alike.
“I respect them and I kind of follow them too because they are big names in the Philippines,” added Gesta. “People compare me to them, but I’m making my own name and I hope one day I can be a world champion too.”
At the moment, the man regarded as the biggest terror at 135 pounds is WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios, who tore through the very formidable Urbano Antillon in his last fight, just hours after Gesta’s impressive win. Rios is one of the biggest trash-talkers in the sport and was recently quoted as saying he would tear Gesta ‘a new ass****’ if given the chance to fight him.
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When informed of Rios’ taunts, Gesta simply brushed them off.
“I’m just laughing that he said that. Because I know he talks, but he’s a champion and he beat Antillon, but I’m different. I’m not Antillon, I’m not Acosta. If he wants to try me, we can fight and see. But to me, he just talks and if that happens I would be ready. I’m willing to fight the guy if he wants to fight.”
Gesta also addressed a possible move to 140 pounds in the future. It may be tempting given the wealth of big names in the junior welterweight class, but for the moment his focus is on the lightweight division.
“Well, right now I’m kind of sticking with 135. Maybe next year I might feel like I am going to move up but right now my target is just to win a 135-pound championship and after that I think about if maybe I’ll move to 140.”
Anyone wanting to hear the full interview with Gesta can check out the latest edition of The Boxing Lab. Undefeated junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan and bantamweight contender Abner Mares also make appearances.
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com