By Ryan Maquiñana
In an update to my esteemed colleague Chris Robinson’s report that Mercito Gesta will headline an ESPN2 card this summer, the unbeaten Filipino lightweight will still face Ty Barnett in a Friday Night Fights main event, except the new date is Aug. 3 at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas.
“The guy is coming to fight,” said Gesta’s trainer/manager Vince Parra. “Barnett wants to knock Mercito out. He’s got a good record, and he’s good boxing skills, and we’re excited to face him on August 3.
The 24-year-old Gesta (25-0-1, 13 KOs) is coming off a seventh-round stoppage of Oscar Cuero in April that was more of a foulfest than a fight. Cuero also clinched excessively and impeded the San Diego, Calif., resident from mounting a consistent attack. This time, Gesta plans to impress.
Barnett (20-2-1, 13 KOs), from Washington, D.C., is on a two-bout winning streak after being stopped by prospect Andrey Klimov a year ago.
“We’re definitely going to take advantage of the worldwide exposure ESPN provides,” Parra said. “Obviously if Mercito had it his way, he’d like to fight a big name and a big opponent for a title, but he’s excited about this fight in front of him now, and he’s looking to make a statement.”
Gesta has been ranked at both lightweight and junior welterweight while chasing world title fights with Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Vazquez. For the time being, Parra was clear on where his fighter would campaign.
“They haven’t set the contract, but we’re looking to fight at 136, 137 [pounds] for this one,” Parra said. “135 is where we’re comfortable fighting. He’s walking around at 146-147 right now. We’ll go to 140 someday, but we have unfinished business here at lightweight.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at email@example.com , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.