By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has signed undefeated Filipino southpaw Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (21-0-1, 11 KO's) to a four year promotional contract and thinks highly of the San Diego City based fighter.
Arum told the Daily Inquirer he is “very,very high on that kid. I think he’ll be a big, big champion.”Gesta won the WBO North American Boxing Organization title when Oscar Meza retired in the 4th round after getting caught with a vicious body shot on June 4, 2010.
The astute promoter disclosed that Gesta will fight on the Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios WBA lightweight title defense against Urbano Antillon on July 9 at the Home Depot in CarsonCity, California. While no opponent has been picked as yet, Gesta’s co-manager Vince Parra said he was considering former world title challenger Ricardo Doninguez 33-7-2 with 20 knockouts or Reyes Sanchez 20-4-1 with 11 knockouts, both tough Mexicans.
Parra said he wants Gesta “to step up to a level to show Top Rank what we are capable of doing.” He said “Mercito is fine with that and he did not hesitate. The good thing is that while we were negotiating Mercito stayed in the gym and stayed motivated. I’ve never seen him so motivated. He wants a tough opponent to prove that he can fight at the highest level.”
The co-manager of Gesta said Arum “seemed to be a lot more in touch with the Filipino press and has a good relationship with TV. It’s a great fit and we’re happy. Bob knows what he’s going. While Golden Boy’s offer was respectable it wasn’t what we were worth and Bob gave Mercito what he wanted and he is giving us the opportunity that we want. It’s a great relationship and we are looking forward to working with him.”
Arum said that “whenever the kid (Gesta) is ready we’ll put him in a title fight maybe against lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez, another one of our champions.”
The 5’10” Vazquez who has a record of 28-3 with 12 knockouts won the vacant title with a twelve round unanimous decision over South Korea’s Ji Hoon Kim on August 14, 2010 and defended the title successfully also by decision against Dominguez on November 27, 2010 and Australian Leonardo Zappavigna on March 12, 2011.
Arum said Gesta is “a good, good fighter. He is a very nice young man and a very well spoken kid and the people around him are very nice.”
Parra said signing up with Top Rank was “a good move and we really took our time. Mercito felt most comfortable with Bob (Arum). I just felt like Bob showed us a lot more respect than Golden Boy. He knows what we want and he’s going to give Mercito the right opportunities.”