By Rich Mazon
Tue, 21 Feb 2012
The third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez last November did not settle anything despite both parties wanting to put closure on what has been one of boxing's best trilogy. Pacquiao won a controversial and widely debated Majority decision victory against his Mexican nemesis in a hotly contested 12 round match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Many insist that Marquez won that bout based on his smart and effective game plan that he played to perfection that night, others credited Pacquiao's ring aggression and activity as a reason for his win. These are the reasons why a fourth installment of Pacquiao - Marquez was one of the options if a fight with Floyd Mayweather cannot be made this year by Top Rank and Team Pacquiao.
Timothy Bradley won over Marquez, junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and junior middleweight champ Miguel Cotto as Pacquiao's next opponent. The bout is set for the MGM Grand on June 9, 2012. With Peterson fighting Amir Khan in a rematch and Cotto facing Mayweather on May 5, Marquez is the only one amongst the four who is left without an opponent. Top Rank originally has plans of him facing Peterson in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in the summer until Peterson accepted what he said was a "better deal." With the date open and the venue eyed, all Top Rank needs is an opponent for Marquez. One that will prepare him for a potential fourth showdown with Pacquiao in the fall.
Enter undefeated lightweight and WBA and WBO ranked Filipino, Mercito Gesta.
A report yesterday from Boxingscene.com verifies what this writer has been disclosed of last week by my own reliable sources, that plans are being explored for Marquez to fight the undefeated Gesta in July at Cowboys stadium. The fight is said to take place at the 140 pound class for a vacant belt which is most likely the WBO junior welterweight title which Bradley holds at this time. With Bradley moving to welterweight to fight Pacquiao, it is most likely that the WBO will put the 140 title on the line for Marquez and Gesta.
I reached out to the Gesta camp to verify this reports, but they are mum at this time as everything is still being discussed. But Gesta's manager, Vince Parra would not confirm nor deny of the said talks. "Talk is talk until Top Rank says so. It's obviously a dream fight but we'll see what happens," he said. He did say that Gesta will likely be fighting in the under card of the Brandon Rios - Yuriorkis Gamboa match in Las Vegas on April 14. "All we are focused on is April 14 at this point," Parra said. "But it's good to be in the mix," he added, referring to the Marquez talks. Gesta will fight an opponent to be named this week by Top Rank. "(We have a) couple of names," he mentioned. Another source told me that welterweight Luis Antonio Arceo is most likely the guy for Gesta.
The 24 year old Gesta is said to be excited with these news. He has been training since December in the Philippines under his dad, Anecito. He came back to San Diego last month and brought his dad with him on his return to the States. He was supposed to fight a March 23 fight but that did not materialize. This one though is big for Gesta and his team. And this early, the Cebuano fighter is confident he will be victorious against the Mexican legend if given the chance to fight him. He apparently is being eyed as a viable opponent or "tune up" for Marquez before he fights Pacquiao yet again. Both Marquez and Pacquiao verbalize that retirement is near for both of them and a fourth fight between the two legends will seal what has become one of boxing's best rivalry. But if Gesta pulls this one off against Marquez, he will play the spoiler's role on Pacquiao - Marquez IV.
Luis Antonio Arceo as a lead in for Gesta before fighting Juan Manuel Marquez at 140? Arceo is a step down from Ricardo Domingues who Gesta just beat.
Fighting JMM at 140 would be even tougher for Gesta imo. Gesta is a bloated former super flyweight. At 140, there has to be someone else out there for JMM. Gesta is not ready.