By Chris Robinson
It’s been known for quite some time that Juan Manuel Marquez has been eyeing a July 14th assignment reserved for Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas, but who exactly the Mexico City stalwart is going to be facing is still undetermined.
Several names have been floated around as opponents for the four-division champion, including Zab Judah, Brandon Rios, and Mike Alvarado, but at the moment Marquez seems to have narrowed the list down to just two possibilities; his countryman Erik Morales and aspiring lightweight contender Mercito ‘No Mercy’ Gesta.
The Mandaue City, Philippines born Gesta is coming off of an eighth round TKO over well-traveled Columbian Oscar Cuero on April 14th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 24-year old southpaw raised his record to 25-0-1 with 13 knockouts with that performance and is on the verge of diving into another rigorous training camp.
“I’m excited for the next one,” Gesta would tell me on Sunday night. “I’m going to start my conditioning this Monday and we’re going to start the next one, hopefully I’ll be fighting for a big one. I don’t know who’s going to be the opponent but I’m excited.”
Gesta has seen his name linked to Marquez for nearly three months now and admits he is dying to know if he will end up being his dance partner come July.
“I want to know,” Gesta would admit. “I’m kind of excited. I know it’s not confirmed but I hope he would choose me. Right now it doesn’t affect me, whoever he’s going to choose. Because I’m always ready. I’m going to train like I’m fighting for a big fight. If he chooses me, that’s perfect because I’m always training like a title fight. I’m always ready.”
Morales has endeared himself to the boxing public over the years because of the amount of thrilling moments he has produced in the ring and the Tijuana fighter’s comeback to the sport in 2010 produced some positive results, including a toe-to-toe war with Marcos Maidana in April of last year and a 10th round TKO over Pablo Cesar Cano last September that saw him lift the vacant WBC junior welterweight belt into the air.
Morales would lose the WBC title one fight later when he was beaten down by young upstart Danny Garcia on March 24th in a fight in which he looked every bit of his 35 years old late in the fight on his way to a unanimous decision loss.
“I see him kind of slowing down now,” Gesta would say of Morales. “I think people like that fight because he is an icon, kind of like Marquez. But Marquez, I would pick him to win that fight if it happens. Morales, I just think he’s slowing down and he can’t pull the trigger anymore.”
There was some uncertainty as to where exactly Gesta would be staging his latest training camp, as he had been spending time at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles for previous fights before setting up shop in his adopted hometown of San Diego while training for the Cuero match.
This time around it looks like Gesta will again be changing things up and he seems enthused about the latest move.
“I’m going to go to Big Bear for my training camp, starting June 1st,” said Gesta. “We want to push more and trainer harder for this fight. I think it will be a big fight and that’s why we feel we need to go to Big Bear. It’s high-altitude, where the champions train.”
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