By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Undefeated Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta is looking “at the world, anybody out there” for a world title fight following what his co-manager and trainer Vince Parra expects will be an explosive performance against Colombia’s Oscar Cuero at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel and Casino on April 14.
The fight card on HBO Sports will be telecast on a delayed basis on ABS-CBN Studio 23 beginning at 4:30 p.m.
After the final media workout at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Parra told the BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard “we are looking at the world.”
He said while they are “not looking past this guy because you have to respect anybody who gets into that ring, my wish list would be anybody out there” even as he mentioned possible title fights against Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios and Miguel Vazquez.
Parra said Gesta is ready to “set an example during this fight (against Cuero) and to show that he’s there to fight the top guys.”
Asked whether Gesta was both physically and mentally ready to face any of the big names in a title fight Parra replied, “I think he’s always been mentally ready for it. He’s been in so many situations since he’s been a pro from the time he was 16 years old and feels so comfortable, more comfortable than I’ve ever seen anybody . I think now that he’s getting older and physically his body is maturing, he’s stronger, he’s hitting harder and his speed is good and experience-wise and based on his last fight against Ricardo Dominguez I’d say he’s getting better every fight. The better fighter you put in there with Mercito it brings the better out of him.”
He said “we had a good workout at the Top Rank Gym and he’s loosening up, losing the last couple of pounds and getting his timing down. Everything is going lovely.” The fight is set at 138 pounds and Parra said Gesta “is right on schedule. We are only a couple of pounds off at this point but we’ve got a couple of more days in Vegas and a couple more gym sessions.”
Parra noted that Gesta “is so strong. He’s excited and ready to get going.”
Parra told us Gesta is “looking forward to a good HBO debut and with the fight being broadcast to the Philippines, Mercito is excited about that and even though we didn’t get the big name opponent that we might have wanted, we are looking at this as a great opportunity because we have a tough opponent even though his record isn’t that great.”
Parra told the Manila Standard that Gesta wants to make an impression and to achieve that the Filipino southpaw will be “aggressive and sharp” in a fight that Parra believes will be a stepping stone to a world title fight later this year possibly against the winner of the WBA Interim title fight between Brandon Rios (29-0-1, 22 KO’s) and Cuban Richard Abril, the Interim title holder who has a record of 17-2-1, 8 KO’s), Marquez or Vazquez..
Abril who defends his title against Rios on the main event in the Mandalay Bay card of Top Rank won the title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Miguel Acosta after dropping him once in the 4th round and twice in the 10th last October 22, 2011.
Gesta has had his longest training camp which was over eight weeks according to Parra and the presence of Gesta’s father, Muay Thai expert and a boxer himself Anecito Gestra was a great addition to the team. Parra said Gesta’s father helped in motivating Mercito and also did good work in terms of conditioning. He added, “he’s done a great job. All his work is done and now its working on the fight plan.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum thinks highly of Gesta and believes he is one of the best prospects to come out of the Philippines in recent years after the incredible impact made by Manny Pacquiao. The 24 year old southpaw has a record of 24-0-1 with 12 knockouts.
He is coming off a unanimous ten round decision over Ricardo Dominguez whom he dropped in the third round en route to c comfortable victory.
Dominguez went the distance in a WBC title fight against Humberto Soto on May 15, 2010 and an IBF title fight against Miguel Vazquez on November 27, 2010.
Parra said Gesta who had his final pre-fight workout today said Gesta “looks good” even as he predicted an action-packed fight.
Gesta has had some excellent sparring against the likes of featherweight Aaron Garcia and two fine junior welterweight prospects in undefeated Adrian Vargas and tough Mexican Emilio Bojorquez who has an impressive record of 19-1 with 13 knockouts.
Although Cuero’s record of 15-7 with 12 knockouts doesn’t look formidable on paper, he has had over 300 fights as an amateur and has solid fundamentals and his knockout to win ratio is high. The 26 year old Colombian won his last two fights by knockouts against Alex Barrios over whom he scored a 2nd round KO on March 7 this year and a 4th round KO over Luis Hernan Rodriguez last March 24.